NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The retirement income levels for American are improving moderately but steadily from last year, according to data from the Employee Benefits Research Institute, but problems persist for millions of retirees and near-retirees.
One often-overlooked problem is what to do when only one spouse retires, which can mean a substantial hit on combined income and having to put off plans to travel, move or start a business -- or even live -- together.
Howard Hook, a certified financial planner with EKS Associates in Princeton, N.J., calls the retirement gap a "predicament for an increasing number of baby boomers."
"It's a scenario that we're seeing more and more frequently, both with people who have decided it's time to retire and those who get laid off and can't get back into the workforce," Hook says. "There are no easy answers, but as financial advisers we try to help them determine how best to go from here to there."
Hooks says gap couples need to brace themselves for emotional issues related to "one at home, the other at work" situation, such as the likely change in roles when one spouse is out of the workforce and the other at home "potentially waiting for dinner to appear on the table."
How the retirement gap situation came to pass can also have an impact. "Clearly, there is a difference between someone who is forced to retire and someone who has planned it," Hooks says.