Survey Results: Less Than Half of Members Expect to Maintain Pre-Retirement Lifestyle

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

September 9, 2015 — Have you been wondering how your retirement income stacks up to that of other retired people in your situation. Or whether it will be enough to provide your pre-retirement lifestyle? Well, thanks to the almost 1500 community-minded members who took the time to contribute their valuable data and insights to last week’s “How Much Do You Expect to Receive in Retirement” survey, now you will know. If you didn’t complete it you owe these folks a big thank you.

As promised, here is a detailed report on what the survey turned up. It includes links to hundreds of individual comments to various questions on the survey. Those include the one about your retirement budget preparations, and how confident you are that the income level you EXPECT to receive will be enough to maintain your pre-retirement standard of living. You will find a list of our previous survey reports at the end of the article.

Background
This is the first time we have asked you for data about your retirement income expectations, and how that agrees with what you think you will need. We were also intrigued with the question about whether you intend to move out of state, and if finances are related to that decision. Here are the highlights from the 11 question poll; detailed findings for each question are listed below that.

Highlights
We have come to expect that in general, Topretirements members are both better prepared for retirement, and more willing to move than the population at large. Those expectations were confirmed in this survey. What was a bit unexpected was the fairly high monthly income that a significant percentage of you report (see below). A disturbing finding from the survey is that about half of the people taking it expect that their retirement income will come up short when it comes to providing their pre-retirement lifestyle.

Retirement budget preparation. Slightly more than half (55%) of you have completed a retirement budget. The remainder is evenly split between “working on it” and “haven’t”.
Moving plans. Three quarters of our survey takers have moved or plan to, or are considering it. A third of those folks are planning to move because of money.
Where to. By far the most popular place to live or move to is the Southeast, followed by the Northeast, Southwest, and Midwest.
Retirement Income. We were surprised at the fairly high level of expected pre-tax income – more people specified that they would be receiving over $7000 a month (25%) than any other choice. The next most popular decile was $4000 to $5000 (18%).
Expected income vs. need. It was unsatisfying to see that less than half of survey respondents (46%) say that their expected retirement income will allow them to continue their pre-retirement lifestyles. Another 19% report that they would need another $1000 a month to keep up, with the remainder expecting more of a shortfall.
Retirement assets. Topretirements members, or at least those filling out the survey, have substantial retirement assets. When asked about the size of financial assets (not including home or pension), the most frequently chosen answer (33%) was over $1 million, far above what the average near-retirement age population has in its accounts.
Source of income. The major sources of retirement income will be from social security, IRA/401(k), pensions, and savings



Detailed Findings
We also asked qualifying questions 1 and 2 in a survey we ran last year. It is reassuring that this year’s results are within a few percentage points.

1. Retirement Status
About half of our members and visitors are not retired – 47% not retired vs. 43% who are. Another 10% are partially retired.

2. Retirement Age
More Topretirements members are between the ages of 60 and 69 (63%) than any other age. Those between 50 and 59% were next (27%). Just 9% are 70 and over, and almost no one is under 50 or over 80.

3. Have you prepared a budget showing your retirement income and expenses?
We are pleased to see that for the most part,Topretirements’ members have taken the effort to complete a financial budget for their retirement. Many others are in the process (keep at it!). Here is a link to all 292 comments about budget process.

Yes
Am working on it
No
55%
24%
21%

It is hard to summarize so many interesting comments – you really have to look at them to see the trials, challenges, and concerns people have about preparing a retirement budget. But here are 2 sample comments to give you a flavor:
– What I learned was that it was easy to spend money on unnecessary items when the income was salary based with an expected continuation but very difficult to curb those spending habits once the income not only reduced, but became fixed. Setting up a budget let us see exactly where the money was going every month and helped us recognize and begin to control the bad habits we had been practicing.
– Our original plan was based on spouse, eight years younger than I, to be employed and carrying health insurance. I did not figure for her not going on in her career. Health care is a HUGE expense to work into any future plan.

4. What area do you live in or are you considering moving to?
The Southeast is the most popular place for retirement in the country. Yet when we looked at the 970 responses from people saying specifically where they want to retire, you cannot imagine the diversity. People are retiring everywhere, all over the U.S. and the world. And many people are choosing to live in 2 places.

We assume that the Southeast is the most popular region because of its generally lower cost of living and warmer winters. The idea for this question came from a member, who made the good point that cost of living varies significantly in different regions of the country.

Southeast
Northeast
Southwest
Midwest
Northwest
Outside U.S.
37%
21%
17%
16%
7%
1%

5. Are you planning on moving to help make your retirement income go further. Or if you are already retired, have you moved or are you considering it?
About 3/4 of those filling out the survey are moving or considering moving. As you can see, some people move to save money, but that is clearly only one of the reasons why people move.

Am considering moving
Will move- not money reason
Will move because of money
Not moving
Other
26%
26%
24%
15%
9%

6. How much do you EXPECT to receive in pre-tax retirement income each MONTH? Or, if you are retired now, how much are you getting each month?
We were surprised by the percentage (25%) of survey takers who expect the highest monthly income level option in the survey – $7000/month or more. The next highest level was $5000-$6000/month. About one third (31%) expect to receive less than $4000/month, or $48,000 per year. This would suggest that the majority of Topretirements members are fairly comfortable, although there are still many with fairly low retirement incomes. About 250 (slightly less than 20%) of those who responded to this question 5 said they were single.

More than $7000/month
$4000 – $5000
$3000 – $4000
$5000 – $6000
$6000 – $7000
$2000 – $3000
Less than $2000
25%
18%
14%
13%
12%
12%
5%

7. Expected retirement income vs. what you will need.
You report a sobering picture from this question. Just under half (46%) of you report that you will either have enough or more than enough income to maintain your living standard. A total of 32% of respondents think they will have a shortfall of up to $2000 a month

Will have enough
$0 to $1000/mo.
$1000 – $2000/mo.
No idea
Need more than $3000
$2000 – $3000
46%
19%
13%
8%
7%
7%

8. Will you be able to maintain your current standard of living in retirement?
Happily, the Topretirements membership is feeling some level of confidence about their ability to keep their current standard of living – over 2/3 or respondents are slightly or very confident. What is interesting here is a change in the ranking from when we asked the same question a year ago. Then the most common answer was “very confident”, this year the most popular was “slightly confident”. If that change might suggest a lowering of confidence in 2015, countering it was the ranking for “not at all confident”, which slipped 2 places to be the least frequent characterization this year.

In the comments to this section many of the people who are confident share some of there secrets of success. Others are not sure what the future holds in a complex world. Here is where you can see comments about confidence of maintaining standard of living.

Slightly confident
Very confident
Not sure
Slightly not confident
Not at all confident
39%
32%
14%
9%
7%

9. Total retirement savings/investments from all sources (IRAs, 401(k)s, general savings/investments, etc., but not including value of home or present value of pension).
Almost everyone who took this confidential survey was kind enough to report the level of their retirement assets (IRA’s/401(k)s, savings, etc. The results were surprising – more respondents have more than $1 million saved up than any other category. By contrast, a 2013 study from the Federal Reserve found that for working households nearing retirement, median combined 401(k)/IRA balances were $111,000 in 2013.

We congratulate our members who enjoy this good fortune. For those less fortunate – keep working and saving if you can! We hope things turn out better than expected.

Over $1 million
$500,000 – $999,999
$250,000 – $499,999
$100,000 – $249,999
Under $100,000
33%
28%
20%
11%
9%

10. Most important source of income
As it is for most people, Social Security will be the primary source of retirement income for Topretirements’ members. IRA/401(k), Pension, and Savings rank below that as the most important. People who have pensions tended to rank that as their most important source of income. The numbers in the 2nd column are a Rank (the lower the number the higher the rank).

Social Security
IRA/401(k)
Pension
Savings/Investments
Employment
Other
2.71
2.81
2.98
3.18
4.46
4.58

11. What else would you like to tell us about your retirement confidence and/or the questions in this survey?
There were 280 responses to this open-ended question – thank you for your insights! The comments are extremely diverse and interesting. Some mentioned how they had planned and saved to get to a comfortable position. Many are concerned and nervous about how their retirements will actually shake out. Health issues and the sudden changes that can happen in life were a concern to many. A significant number appear to be deeply concerned about the political landscape. Here is a link where you can download all Comments to Q 11- Income Survey. (You might have to use Zoom to make it readable).

Bottom Line
Thank you to those Topretirements members who took the time to share.

Links to Previous Surveys
Good News: Topretirements Members Very Confident About Retirement
Where to Retire Preferences
Topretirements Members Report High Degrees of Spousal Compatibility- 2013
Our Members Getting Ready for Big Retirement Moves- 2013
Retirement Living Preferences – 2013
Medicare Survey – 2012
Best and Worst Things About Your Retirement
Your Bucket Lists Are Amazing
Top Concerns about Retirement
Plans for Retirement

Comments? Please share your thoughts in the Comments section below. Were you surprised about the expected monthly incomes? Any other surprises or reactions – please let us know!




Posted by Admin on September 8th, 2015

14 Comments »

  1. These results confirm what I’ve begun to believe – that top retirements main base is wealthy members. It will not provide me, a much less wealthy member, with any help during my retirement years. I’ve never come across a retirement community I could afford. I would like to see more about small (400-1000 sf) and tiny (under 400 sf) homes, and even co-housing communities, all of which are becoming very popular and are affordable to top retirements’ less wealthy members.

    by DWF — September 10, 2015

  2. See: (many helpful Comments to read as well in these articles)
    http://www.topretirements.com/blog/great-towns/how-to-find-an-affordable-55-community.html/
    http://www.topretirements.com/blog/real-estate/are-you-ready-to-join-the-tiny-house-movement-in-retirement.html/
    http://www.topretirements.com/blog/real-estate/low-income-retirement-a-discussion.html/
    http://www.topretirements.com/blog/baby-boomer-issues/retirement-your-way-co-housing-might-be-your-answer.html/

    If you search on Topretirements you will find many articles for people who are working on a small budget. We strive to have relevant resources for all kinds of people

    by Admin — September 11, 2015

  3. In general, I think DWF is right in that many of TopRetirements readers are financially doing ok. But it’s been clear from comments that many are not and probably must glean what they can from the excellent information provided.

    But I also think DWF is wrong to chastise TopRetirements — to start with there are the articles Admin points to. Frankly, though, trying to retire without adequate means or preparation (or both) IS certainly difficult and cannot be answered through most of the articles posted. However, as I said, the “information” provided about towns, locations, areas and options is excellent even if you must lower your sights from the average TopRetirements member.

    My wife and I started off near dead poor almost 50 years ago with absolutely NO family support (other than good wishes) to fall back on. With some luck and mostly a lot of dedication and planning, we managed work our way from mediocre part-time jobs, through finishing a debt-ridden education, and on to a more average start to our work lives. Eventually our commitment and hard work did lead us to a point (at about 35) where we could start saving for retirement and learning about what that really meant. With a lot more research and planning (read almost any article on TopRetirements for the kind of research and planning needed to help secure a good retirement) — and a selected amount of risk — we did finally retire and even prospered after retirement. I think we fall into the lower part of that upper half of retirees that your survey reports on. Regardless, I still constantly research your site, the Early Retirement site and numerous others for tidbits of information that will help us continue on the path we’ve pursued for 12 years now.

    Keep up the good work TopRetirements folks. Your reviews, reports and information are very valuable to all who are willing to go through the vast resource you provide.

    Rich

    by Rich — September 11, 2015

  4. I agree with Rich; I don’t get the sense from reading posts at TR that the contributors are skewed toward the high-income side. And many of the articles/comments are about livability in specific areas, not so much specific communities. (There are reasonably priced neighborhoods in most towns.) The range of customers I work with are pretty much in line with the TR audience, with the vast majority looking for homes in the Southeast priced between $200K and $300K. Those worried about being able to afford a retirement lifestyle should keep in mind that moving to many areas of the South will save as much as 30% in cost of living compared, especially, with the Northeast, Upper Midwest and West. For some, the glass may be more than half full…

    by Larry — September 12, 2015

  5. I’m in the low end of finances for retirement, with $2000-3000 per month that will include earnings from PT work. I did inherit a house from a relative that is paid for, so that helps. I was poor for the first 50 years of my life, and I don’t want to go back to living on less than $20,000 a year. As a single woman, that fear, along with good benefits, keeps me getting up every day and heading off to my job, as well as I really do like the work. TR has been a lifeline for me in learning how to prepare for retirement, along with scores of books, websites, conversations, and deep thinking and journal writing on my part. In fact, TR was the first place that gave me an inkling that retirement was a possibility; I never thought of myself as retirement material, but now I do. There is a balance of readers here, and I believe that many good ideas come from the comments; John initiates conversation with a good article, and then we take it from there. I was surprised at how many people here are financially well off for retirement – great! – but I’m not one of you. My retirement will be alternative, living like a grad student, yet focusing on creativity, education, nature, and community. My future is looking good, but retirement realistically is still a ways off, barring some unforeseen event. I am grateful for what I have and have earned.

    by Elaine C. — September 12, 2015

  6. The truth is staying in place as we get older is not a reality if you live in a high tax area. Add outrageous utilities and high insurance cost and your finished. The middle class needs a break and the only break your going to get in the NY tristate area is your budget. $5k a month is not going to cut it there, when retirement calls it will be time to move!!

    by Alexmac56 — September 12, 2015

  7. DWF- I am sure I am too considered lower income by this site visitors, but they are very helpful and informative. When I first came here I would find the “higher” income retiree’s suggestions out of my ball park. But researching in most cases I found there are “lower” housing options in the towns they originally suggested. Since I wasn’t quite ready for retirement, their investment advice came in handy. It made me face reality, that everyone needs to invest and save before retiring. I am thankful for all the suggestions and advice I have read, and am not going to be living just off my social security and 401K. I have never spent 5K a month working but do see it happening in retirement due to medical factors and projected cost of living expenses.

    by DeyErmand — September 12, 2015

  8. As you make your calculations, it is important to keep in mind the differences — some very significant — in cost of living rates. I live in CT and also own a vacation condo in SC. If we sell our CT home and move to SC, we will enjoy a reduction in annual expenses of roughly 30%. If you want to do the comparison of your current town to other towns where you might move, just plug the names of the towns into the calculator here: http://www.bestplaces.net/cost-of-living/

    by Larry — October 31, 2015

  9. Larry, I spent about six months on the site you have suggested. That was before I found this website. It is an excellent site to know where to get more bing for your buck. It also told me that there are some states I could never afford to live in, no matter how perfect they are for others. It is actually how I determined where health care cost were cheaper along with utilities. Now to find the perfect SMALL house to vacate too until retirement and to finish sizing down.

    by DeyErmand — November 1, 2015

  10. Larry, thanks for the link for cost of living rates! Very interesting!

    by Louise — November 1, 2015

  11. What I always found useful in the http://www.bestplaces.net/cost-of-living/ site that Larry mentioned is that you can compare costs categories. When retired, health costs are always an interesting one. Transportation maybe less so. There are other sites that have more detailed categories http://www.bankrate.com/calculators/savings/moving-cost-of-living-calculator.aspx, but less cities so you my not find the city you are interested in. State taxes can make a difference, but like the place not just the cost.

    The bankrate site also has other interesting cslculators http://www.bankrate.com/calculators/index-of-retirement-calculators.aspx

    by elaine — November 3, 2015

  12. Editor’s Note: We moved some Comments from another post to this one, since they are more relevant here:

    from Kim: My husband and I are in our early 50s, both professionals (although I no longer work, now) so we’re not ready to retire yet. We may end up in Florida, we may not.

    I’ve been reading with amusement some of the posts commenting on what is “affordable”. What is affordable for your generation will not be for mine, I’m sad to say. As a history buff and someone who minored in history, I can tell you that the generations following WWII into the Reagan years were the most affluent generations in the history of this country, especially those who were gainfully employed in the 50s and 60s. We will probably never see that again, no matter what the Democrats or Republicans claim.

    I know older folk in my current area who are living very very comfortably with nice properties and money to blow, and they have no education…and some can’t even read. I’m serious. They paid next to nothing for their homes (or had them custom built), had union jobs with great benies and retirement packages. Some are living on disability and frankly, not much is wrong with them. They travel and pull large tree stumps out of their yards like a healthy 30 yo would do. They boast of having thousands in the bank(s). They were hard working, yes…but so were/are we…and our household will never be able to do what these folks have been able to do–and we are in the Tech field!

    I think that folks in their late 60s and 70s may not realize how the rest of the country is living, and that their kids and grandkids, etc will likely never have the freedom and money that your generation has. (Notice how the marketing out there is targeting your generation?)

    I’m not jealous, I realize that if I’d have lived a bit earlier in our history, I probably would have done the same thing in all respects. Heck, I would have been a postal worker, ha! Talk about a seriously nice retirement and medical package. Sigh…but those days are gone, too.

    The point is, I think the folks who manage this site (which I love, by the way), should look down the road and realize that things are changing, and not for the better for those who will be retiring in the future. “Affordable” will be much much less, amenities will likely be less, and those vying for a reasonable place to live will increase. The gentleman who has only $1100.00+ a month coming in on disability will be similar to what most seniors will be making on average…maybe a bit more; hard to say. You have to factor in cost of living increases, salaries stagnated for a very long time, retirement packages gone, etc–this will be commonplace. It is likely that in the near future, everyone, young and old alike, will be taking a serious cut in living quality, no matter what their level of education, etc.

    Sorry to sound so gloomy but…reality is reality. Best wishes and blessings to all those from (financially happier times.

    from lindaf: I have to say I am in my 50’s.. and I have no idea what you are talking about. People in their late 60’s and 70’s have a clear view of how it is today and the future. Hard work and being smart is the key to a happy retirement.

    from linda: Kim, I agreed with your post. I am 57, looking forward to retiring after having worked all my life since age 16, but I know that I will have to watch every penny. My plan is to sell my current home and find a 55-up community with homes less than $100,000. I like to look at communities that have the beautiful new properties that sell for $200,000 and up, but I know they are way out of my reach. Best of luck to you.

    from Louise: Some of you CAN afford to move into the home of your dreams by using a loan called Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM). It is a Federal program that will loan you about half the value of your new home depending on your age. The other half has to be paid by you. You never need to make any payments unless you leave the home. See this article. It gives an example of a 67 year old couple. I believe the younger you are the less they will loan you but it is a really great way to buy your last home. Think of it, you could sell your current home for maybe $250,000, get the HECM loan for approx. $125,000 and bank your other $125,000 to put in the bank to fund retirement needs. http://reverse.org/blog/what-is-hecm-for-purchase/

    from Ella: Kim,
    I believe there is an answer to the conundrum you expressed above. It is to live simply and save. I’ve done it and my retirement accounts are healthy. Very few vacations over the years, and i don’t eat out much. However i do have a life. The concerts i go to are free, i take hikes in state parks, and enjoy gardening every year. I think you get the picture. It’s a trade off one has to be willing to make, but it is entirely possible. Wishing you the best!

    from Louise: Kim, you say you are not working now. I don’t know your situation at all but if you are able to live with only your husbands paycheck you might consider this. If you were to work at Walmart and worked 32 hours a week making $10 an hour you could put all of it into their 401k. In one year you would be able to put away $16,000 a year plus get Walmarts 6% match. Which would be around $1,000. So $17,000 a year in 401k. If you have 10 years before you retire and without one raise you could save $170,000 for retirement!

    When my husband and I were first married I worked in a factory and let me tell you it was BORING work. However, we saved my paycheck for two years and with wedding $$ we received, which back in 1973 was not a lot, we were able to build our home in 1975! Quite an accomplishment for for a 22 year old factory worker and a guy who was 23 and worked at a tire store at the time. When I worked at the factory I took all the overtime I could get. I worked quite a few Saturdays and worked there 10 years. For working there 10 years the retirement money the company gave me was just under $5,000! They had no 401k.

    Walmart is not a dream job by any means but if you consider your career over, then Walmart could just be a fill in job to get you to retirement.

    Ella is right, there are ways, and analyzing your monthly expenses and what you can shed might be a first step. For instance, I was with one insurance company for probably 25 years. One day I finally called and asked if my rate could be reduced. We knew the agent for years. He said he’d call back. He did and said NO he couldn’t lower my rates. So, that made me furious considering we had no traffic violations or accidents over the years. I called AARP and was able to lower our car/house/umbrella policy and saved about $900 a year! Then when we retired I called again and told them we don’t drive that many miles and the price got reduced again. Cablevision is also a sneaky company and there are ways to reduce that bill too. Call and ask what they can do for you. Threaten to change providers! We also have Senior discount on certain Tuesdays at the grocery store. The coupon takes 10% off your entire bill. I believe you have to be 50 or older to use it. We go all out and spend probably $300 or more and stock up till the next Senior day. If you have Triple A you can also save money by going through AARP. They have the identical plan for at least $20-$30 less per year. These are things the ‘older’ generation does to hang onto our money!

    Another thing we did yesterday was buy 2 giant lobsters. They were on sale and cost about $25 a piece. However, if we had gone out to dinner a lobster dinner for two with wine, tip and everything else would have been probably $135 or more. So we splurged! The fish department steams the lobsters so all we had to was warm it up! They were delicious!

    Louise- your post was enlightening for sure! Is there a separate article on this site where folks could chime in with other known discounts for retirees? I would love to see it all in one section….thanks!

    by SandyZ — February 15, 2016 | Edit This

    Great idea to have more ideas to save money for (and in) retirement.

    by Carold — February 15, 2016 | Edit This

    More ideas to save money!

    Get yourself a rewards credit card. Costco has Amex now but will be changing to Visa soon. Many banks offer them too. Just by using the card this year I have racked up approximately $325. I will get the check next month and can cash it at Costco or spend it at Costco. I charge almost everything on it. Doctors, grocery store, gas, restaurants. I don’t pay my normal bills that way. I use on line banking for that.

    Cash in your soda/beer cans and bottles but don’t spend the money! Bring it home and put it in your piggy bank. Later on when the piggy is full, roll the coin, count the cash, take coin to bank. Maybe you will have enough to go out to dinner or do something fun.

    Consider buying store brands. Most are just as good as name brands. I worked for a food research company and we had co-packers that produced our product until my company invested into their own equipment to make the product themselves. Right along with our product the co-packer was producing a ‘store brand’ product. It was pretty identical but some small changes in formulation. They had to sign a confidentiality agreement and couldn’t use our formulas. Packaging was the same except our brand name was on our product. Store brand packaging on the ‘other’ product. Read ingredient statements on the product, most times they are pretty identical. Just like generic medicines.

    Look on bottom and top shelves at grocery stores. Big name companies pay to get ‘eye level’ shelving. Lesser known companies take top shelves and bottom shelves.

    Two of my neighbors share the price of garbage removal. Both have deceased spouses and the man brings his garbage down to the woman’s house and puts it in her garbage bin. Our garbage costs about $112 every three months so each pays only $56 for 3 months!

    by Louise — February 15, 2016 |

    This is in response to Kim’s post. I think painting things with such a broad brush is a mistake. I have an 83 year old father who “never thought he would live this long,” who made no plans for retirement. He now lives on his $1,100/month SS benefits in a senior citizens apartment. I am 51 and one year from having my 30 years in. I sacrificed and have two degrees as I knew it would make a difference in both the short-term and long-term. My wife and I both worked (we are educators) and we put money into annuities and then rolled them into 403B accounts later. We have a ton of equity in our home, money in investments, and if I choose to retire next year I will have a $100,000 pension for the rest of my life and it transfers to my wife if I “go” first. My pension plan is solid, although we did recently have to up the percentage we contribute. I would agree that for those who worked in non-professional jobs, the retirement options have gotten worse over the years. I have spent the better part of my career as a Principal, so my average income was higher. My point in all of this is that through smart planning and focused investing, we are going to be able to live well in retirement. We took vacations with our kids (but were smart about the expenses), we have one in college and when he finishes our daughter will be next. I don’t for a minute believe that the people I have worked with will be living on $1,100/month as many have been purposeful in their behavior as well.
    The other important part to consider is that real estate prices are cyclical and tied to the economy. I believe that if you wait to retire to purchase your home, you are tied to the prices at that time. A better strategy is to research where you want to live and, when things are low, pull the trigger and buy. I live in Houston right now and oil is tanking. Lots of vacation homes on the Gulf Coast are about to become available. If you are in the market to retire along the Gulf Coast, wait 12 more months and you will have your pick of a vast number of really nice properties that have been foreclosed on, or sold at a loss to get out from under the note. As for me, I hear the sound of the ocean in the distance calling me and my toes will soon be in the sand. We are heading to Pensacola Beach and are counting the days.

    by Chris —

    I agree with you Kim…..the average SS payment is $1200 and studies show that about only 20 to 40% of people are saving for retirement. So unless you have a home to sell and move to a cheaper cost of living area of the country or inherit from your family you will probably be needing government assistance.

    by Mary Jane — February 16, 2016 |

    First, I am happy for all whose life has worked out well and have a bunch of money to retire. To assume that one hasn’t made enough “sacrifices” or haven’t managed their life well is very short sighted and insensitive. People have divorces, illnesses, layoffs, tuition, and unemployment. There is a plethora of reasons why people may not have enough money.

    For those os you patting yourself on the back for saving for retirement, be careful! Life is what happens while you are busy making plans. I went from being a very comfortable married woman to a poor divorced 50 something woman with a child to raise. My ex. managed to hide money and left for another woman. Then cancer hit me twice. I never in my life thought that I would be in this predicament. That is life.

    by MaryB — February 17, 2016

    The issue is what is “affordable” to one is out of reach for another. A friend and I had the same retirement aspirations, budget, area, etc. when we spoke 7-8 years ago. Since then, he’s been unable to find work while I’ve been fortunate to secure a position in education that will provide me with small pension. My numbers have stayed the same while his have decreased substantially. How can a blog like this take into account that we have so many unique budgets and ideas re: our retirement? I really appreciate the willingness of so many to share their journeys with us!.

    by Richard — February 17, 2016 |

    Thanks to MaryB, Richard and others for the insight on a lack of savings. Looking around me i see people spending as if today is the only day they’ll ever have. As a result, i had assumed that a lack of savings for retirement is a reflection of that attitude. And in many situations, it is. Thanks for the eye opener that that is not always the case!

    by ella — February 18, 2016

    Hi Vickie, to reply to your statement about being on the topic of affordability. My husband and I have Ben married a short 16 years. Four kids and nine grandkids between us. We have saved and saved. Added on to our house. Paying extra each month to get house paid off in two years. I haven’t worked in two years due to RA and diabetes. Plan on retiring in Manatee county Fl. On this site because we can’t afford to lose ANYTHING. From what I’m reading, we’ll be o.k. In retirement. Husband is a postal carrier. Moving before he retires if he can get a transfer. Will retire with no debt. It helps that I’m a homebody and have hobbies that keep me busy. (Quilting and other needle work) thank God every day for the cup half full! Be positive and have a good attitude! Laugh outloud! Smile when you first wake Up! And YES I do answer myself outloud at times. Watching my pennies everyday! I was single for 16 years and raised my two boys from the ages of 3 1/2 and 5. Displaced housewife. No skills. No education. No training. Went to beauty college, got a job. Went on to community college to better my self. Two degrees in sales and marketing and business management. Five years later making to much money cutting up and teasing to use degrees. Go figure. Met husband after kids were raised. Be positive, pray and God WILL bless. Take care and wish you the best.

    by Janet — February 18, 2016 |

    Social Security was never intended to support our retirement and I knew in my 30’s to save for retirement, and to have a 401K plan. I am your Average Joe Wage earner. I have no regrets seeing that my children had college behind them before I got serious about saving for my retirement life. My wife and I have lived simple and sometimes without to pay off our home. We stopped using credit cards years ago. We have had to move several times due to my job. Each time felt like a set back. We have two relatives living with us now from their own failed retirement plans. Who knew medical expenses could wipe someone out? (Seniors age 65 and over spent an average of $4,888 per capita annually out of pocket for deductibles, co-payments, premiums and other health care expenses not covered by insurance unless they qualify for medicaid) It is real important to us not to have a set back with our retirement planning or move. Trust me moving is expensive, please rent before buying anything. Affordable means low cost, low priced and is based on personal finances.

    by DeyErmand — February 18, 2016 |

    Chris – for four years now, we have been drawing from our retirement savings to help my elderly mother afford assisted living in Florida – that may be something you face for your father in the future, when he is no longer able to live alone in his low income senior citizens apartment. We never considered it a burden or that it might one day put us in a financial squeeze. Helping her out – she is 91 and doing great – was the right thing to do after a life of giving to others, including me. I can rest easy and sleep well at night for the rest of MY life knowing that we did all we could to make her final years comfortable and enjoyable. Did it mean we could not have everything we wanted in retirement – yes – but “things”, like a new boat or luxury car are a fleeting joy, caring for family is a lasting treasure. And I know that my own children pay attention to how Nana is treated and I am teaching them a life-long lesson. As MaryB says above, “life is what happens”…

    by SandyZ — February 18, 2016 |

    Thanks, Mary, I wasn’t speaking of myself at the time. I just feel people can be rather insensitive to others’ situations. People work, pray and try to do the right thing and it doesn’t mean everything will work out. Not being negative, just a fact of life.

    by Vickie — February 18, 2016 |

    by Vickie —
    from Elaine:I remember a good blog on ways to “cut the cable” with ways to save on cable bills, etc. …and there are some other blogs about budget and the like and perhaps some of these posts could be moved to those blogs

    by Admin — February 20, 2016

  13. I found this article. I hope others find it helpful.
    http://www.kiplinger.com/slideshow/retirement/…cheapest…retire/index.html

    by DeyErmand — February 22, 2016

  14. Sorry not so good at linking the article, It is called “23 Great Places to Retire That Won’t Wipe Out Your Nest Egg”
    Read more at http://www.kiplinger.com/slideshow/retirement/T006-S001-cheapest-places-where-you-ll-want-to-retire/index.html#i0QytYvqVGzKuqer.99

    by DeyErmand — February 22, 2016

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