Wednesday, March 4, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

6 strategies to create a more secure retirement

By
From page OSF2 | January 09, 2014 |

The retirement landscape is changing dramatically. The vision of the “golden years” has given way to worries about retirement security for many Americans – worries that are well-founded.

The National Institute of Retirement Security released a report in 2013 on how prepared we are for retirement. “The Retirement Savings Crisis: Is it Worse Than We Think?” states that nearly 45 percent of all working-age households do not own assets in a retirement account; that’s about 38 million people. The typical American family has only “a few thousand dollars” saved for retirement and the median savings for people who are 10 years away from retirement is $12,000. One-third of people ages 55-64 haven’t saved anything for retirement.

Are you one of these people?

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, fewer than half of Americans have calculated how much they need to save for retirement, and in 2009, 13 percent of private industry workers with access to a defined contribution plan, such as a 401(k) plan, did not participate. The National Retirement Risk Index, which measures the percentage of working-age households that are at risk of not being able to retain their pre-retirement standard of living in retirement, found that 53 percent of households are “at risk.” The percentage of “at-risk” households increases when health care expenses are added into the equation. Many people falsely assume that Medicare will cover all of their health care expenses, but this is simply not true.

A survey by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies found that 64 percent of workers are not confident about their retirement security and 42 percent expect to work past the traditional retirement age of 65. Even so, more than one-third of workers in their 50s and 27 percent of workers in their 60s do not have any kind of retirement plan.

In addition, Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies reported that more than 21 million American workers expect to rely primarily on Social Security for their retirement income. This is a poor strategy, considering that the average monthly Social Security benefit in 2013 was only $1,269. The actual benefit is less for lower-wage workers who contributed less over their lifetimes and less for those who elect to initiate Social Security benefits before their defined retirement age.

Uncertainties related to the Social Security system exacerbate the issue. The Social Security Administration reports that there are currently 2.8 workers for each Social Security beneficiary, with that number expected to drop to 2.1 workers by 2033. Proposed solutions could result in reduced benefits for retirees, along with increased worker contributions.

The changing financial landscape, coupled with a longer life span, inadequate planning and the unknowns related to the Social Security system may jeopardize the golden years. However, there are strategies that can improve one’s retirement prospects:

  • Don’t wait. Develop a retirement plan now. There are many retirement calculators on the Web. For example, the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College has an interactive tool to help people develop a reasonable plan for maintaining their standard of living in retirement. The tool Target Your Retirement can be found at http://crr.bc.edu/special-projects/interactive-tools/target-your-retirement.
  • Work longer and delay retirement benefits. Working longer and delaying retirement benefits can dramatically increase your retirement income. Take Social Security, for example. Social Security benefits are based on how much you earned during your working career. Higher lifetime earnings result in higher benefits. In addition, taking Social Security early, that is before your full retirement age, results in reduced monthly payments. For example, if you retire at age 62, your benefit would be about 25 percent less than what it would be if you waited until you reach full retirement age. There is an even greater incentive to wait longer. 

Contact the Social Security Administration before making the decision to retire. The website www.ssa.gov has numerous tools to help you calculate your life expectancy, retirement income needs and benefits.

Sometimes health problems force people to retire early. If you cannot work because of health problems, consider applying for Social Security disability benefits.

Be sure to sign up for Medicare before the age of 65, if you plan to delay your retirement. Failure to do so could result in increased fees.

  • Downsize and simplify. People grow attached to their homes, cars and other things. Downsizing and simplifying, however, has many benefits. Mortgage, rent, car payments and insurance are four expenses that can be decreased while still creating a comfortable life. It also enables people to choose an aging-friendly environment where one can age in place for as long as feasibly possible. Such environments typically include increased access to public transportation, grocery stores and medical services.
  • Reduce expenses (and debt) now. Reducing expenses and paying off debt is a necessary step toward creating a more secure retirement. Entering retirement with a high mortgage payment and credit card debt can greatly compromise financial security.

The National Council on Aging developed a free resource tool for setting financial goals, cutting costs, reducing debt and saving.

In addition, the Economic Check-Up tool can be accessed at www.benefitscheckup.org/esi-home.

  • Be creative. We are limited only by our imagination and preconceived ideas of “how things should be.” Get a roommate. Barter for services instead of paying for them. Sell your car and use public transportation. Look for inexpensive entertainment options like the local library, community events and public parks. Picnic or potluck with friends instead of going out to eat. The options are endless and open up possibilities for new and meaningful experiences.
  • Redefine your expectations. Unrealistic expectations can create a sense of dread and be immobilizing. Realize that you are not alone. One-third of people over the age of 65 are still working, and 42 percent of workers expect to work longer than they originally anticipated.

Working longer may have added physical and mental health benefits. One recent study, “Work Longer, Live Healthier: The Relationship Between Economic Activity, Health And Government Policy,” found a correlation between early retirement and deteriorating health. While there are many individual factors that affect overall health, and the scientific community is not all in agreement with the conclusions of the study, it is widely accepted that staying actively engaged physically, cognitively and socially has positive health outcomes.

A final note for seniors already living on a limited retirement income. The National Council on Aging has an additional resource to help you locate resources to help pay for medicine and food.

Visit the Benefits Check-Up at www.benefitscheckup.org to access that resource.

Rochelle Sherlock, M.A., is consultant to the Senior Coalition of Solano County, an advisory board to Solano County’s Board of Supervisors.

Rochelle Sherlock

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Recent Articles

  • Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • .

    Solano News

     
    County honors Meadows Trigueiro as Woman of the Year

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

    Police shut down Fairfield street after shooting

    By Glen Faison | From Page: A1, 9 Comments | Gallery

     
    Celebrity chef motivates Armijo students

    By Susan Winlow | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    State schedules work on Highway 12

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A4

     
    Bridge work to shut down Highway 12 east of Rio Vista

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A4

    Highway 12 Association to meet this month

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A4

     
    Caltrans reschedules work on J-Mack Ferry

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A4

     
     
     
    Robots, raucous businessmen set to arrive on big screen

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A7

    Teen hit by SUV remains in hospital

    By Glen Faison | From Page: A9

     
    College looks at Measure Q project changes

    By Susan Winlow | From Page: A9

     
     
     
    Fairfield police log: March 2, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12, 1 Comment

    Fairfield police log: March 1, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

     
    Fairfield police log: Feb. 28, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

    Suisun police log: March 2, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

     
    Suisun City police log: March 1, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

    Suisun City police log: Feb. 28, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

     
    Enrollment of non-residents to be capped at some UC campuses

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

    .

    US / World

    California survey finds Sierra snowpack far below normal

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    California shuts down oil wells to protect ground water

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

    Ex-CIA chief admits sharing military secrets with mistress

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A12 | Gallery

     
    California lawmakers show wide discrepancy in missed votes

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

    Agents target industry helping Chinese women have US babies

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A13 | Gallery

     
    Family of girl declared brain-dead sues Oakland hospital

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

    US marshals say man killed by Los Angeles police was wanted

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A13, 2 Comments | Gallery

     
    72 passengers reach settlements in Asiana crash

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

    Netanyahu warns US ‘bad deal’ would put Iran on nuclear path

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

     
    Mines, bombs slow Iraqi advance on Islamic State-held Tikrit

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

     
    India orders TV stations not to give rapist a platform

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

    Health officials perplexed by vaccination skeptics

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A13, 1 Comment

     
    Lawmakers taking another crack at expanding gun checks

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

    .

    Opinion

     
    Editorial cartoon: March 3-4, 2015

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

    Minority outreach that works

    By Jennifer Rubin | From Page: A11, 3 Comments

     
    Israelis worry about inequality, not Iran

    By Daniel Gordis | From Page: A11, 3 Comments

     
    .

    Living

    Today in History: March 4, 2015

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Community Calendar: March 4, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

    Mushrooms are nutrient-packed, with a deep, savory flavor

    By The Washington Post | From Page: B5

     
    Get ready to add white to the rainbow of produce you eat

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

     
    My husband and I want different things in our retirement

    By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B7

    Horoscopes: March 4, 2015

    By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B7

     
    .

    Entertainment

    Apollo to celebrate Holiday birthday

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

     
    Oprah’s Chicago studios to close down

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

    Fashion week moves Milan to Paris

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

     
    TVGrid

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    .

    Sports

    Bumgarner hit hard in spring debut, A’s beat Giants 9-4

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
     
    Vanden girls roll, advance to SJS championship game

    By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1

    Raiders officially release S Tyvon Branch

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Trooper: Fingerprints show victim in Hernandez’s rented car

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Play ball! Quickly! Baseball tries to speed game this spring

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Australian rugby star Hayne signs 3-year deal with 49ers

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Maid: Hernandez messed with security camera after killing

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Pacquiao big hit so far in Vegas sports books vs Mayweather

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Kings bring back former player Divac in front-office role

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    No ‘floating rubbish’ collection for Olympic sailing venue

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Cal senior Reshanda Gray named Pac-12 Player of the Year

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Rudy Gay, Kings hand Knicks worst loss of season, 124-86

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Cubs’ scramble on Wrigley Field hits bump when mayor balks

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    .

    Business

    Oil glut could soon lead to plummeting prices

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A8, 2 Comments

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Jacqueline Mendes

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

     
    Robert C. Thierry

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

    Garland (Curly) Henry Tackett

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

     
    Otto Vasak

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

    John Henry Fechter, Jr.

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Blondie

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

     
    Pickles

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

    Zits

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

     
    Beetle Bailey

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

    Rose is Rose

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

     
    Dilbert

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

    Get Fuzzy

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

     
    B.C.

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

    Peanuts

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

     
    For Better or Worse

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

    Sally Forth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

     
    Wizard of Id

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

    Baby Blues

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

     
    Baldo

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

    Garfield

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

     
    Frank and Ernest

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

    Sudoku

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

     
    Crossword

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

    Bridge

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

     
    Word Sleuth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

    Cryptoquote

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7