March 3, 2021 — The problem with retirement is that there really isn’t a school for it. One day you are working, and the next day you could have twenty or even thirty years ahead of you with no plan as to how and where you are going to fill them. To help with that vacuum we developed an Online Retirement 101 Preparation Course two years ago. It started with an Introductory Module and since then has grown steadily, it is now up to 10 Modules and growing.
You can begin the course anytime, but preferably start before you retire, so you have time to prepare and take action. You can take the modules sequentially or in any order that fits your needs.
It contains a brief overview and discussion of most of the topics you need to be familiar with before you retire, along with an exercise you and/or your partner or spouse can fill out. It also contains links to the other nine modules in the series. One of those you might want to take right away is Module 4: Retirement Preparation Quiz. There is even an extra module that provides explanations of the questions and answers.
Here are the 10 Modules in the Retirement 101 Series:
March 23, 2019 — This is the 5th module in our “Retirement Preparation 101” online course. The social aspects of retirement was one of most frequently requested topics for the series. Here is where you can see all of the Modules and all the Member suggestions for the course.
Here is a sample suggestion which led to this Module:
Katie: Loneliness in retirement. Whether single, divorced or widowed, loneliness is something that many of us will face as we retire from our work lives. Many of us spent our lives with people at work and any free time with spouses, children or other family. Friendships may have been with neighbors, our kids’ friends’ families, spouse’s work friends, etc. With retirement and a loss of the people around us, retirees can find themselves alone. Surely there are other good ideas and stories from people who have gone through this.
Overview – one step at a time
One short article cannot possibly address all the strategies or be a magic bullet to solving the problem of feeling alone. We encourage you to to view these tips as something to experiment with. A lifetime of habits cannot not be overcome in a day or a week or a month, but if you gradually apply some of these ideas in your daily life you just might be able to make a difference. Here we go:
Singles vs. married couples. A later module in this series will specifically address loneliness for singles. But we firmly believe that the strategies presented here are useful no matter what your state – single or married.
February 28, 2019 — We thought it would be a good idea to have a central page where all of the various Modules in our Retirement Planning 101 Course would be listed. So here is that list. As new modules are produced we will include them here. When we produced Module 1 (Introduction) you generated a raft of suggestions for the course. Here is a “Summary of Course Suggestions“.
The course is free and can be taken in almost any order (after Module 1). There are many interactive features and homework assignments. Module 4, for example, is an online quiz that will give you a score on your retirement preparation.
Comments, anyone: We would love to hear your comments and suggestions on the course, including what should (and perhaps should not) be included in the course. See also the “Many comments Made So Far” in this article .
February 20, 2019 — By now you have hopefully taken our online “Retirement Preparation Quiz” and seen your score. If you haven’t, you can take it here. Please realize that the original passing score (70%) was chosen subjectively – your opinion of the state of your retirement preparation is undoubtedly better than ours. We hope that by presenting the questions and reasons for the correct answers you can increase your understanding of retirement preparation. Note that for most of the questions we have provided a link to an article on that topic so you can explore it in greater detail.
Notes about the results
Almost 1100 people had taken the quiz as of Feb. 26. The average score for everyone taking the test was about 69%. That prompted us to lower the “passing” grade to 60% (from 70%), since many of the factual questions were difficult. In addition, for some of the questions that had more than 2 choices (e.g.; yes, no, somewhat) more than one answer might be considered acceptable. We have posted the percentage (%) of people who got each question right next the correct answers.
The questions that were most often missed were #3 and #8. Number 3 asked which of three investments had the best guarantee of income. Only 39% selected the “correct” answer, annuity, probably because people didn’t realize the key word was “income”, and assumed we meant “return”. Number 8, age of breakeven for delaying SS until age 70, was answered correctly by only 34%. We can see why, because not all experts agree on the consensus answer of 81-82. All of the questions we asked about progress on preparation and/or discussion with spouse/family members had strong results, usually 80% or better. That is good news, indicating that there is a lot of planning and discussing going on. Somewhat distressing were the responses to questions 9 and 10 on wills and health care directives. Almost one third of quiz takers do not have one or the other of those, so it is time for them to get busy on those important tasks. Only about half (53%) have spent time thinking about “late” retirement. The questions with the highest % of correct answers were those that had to do with planning on what type of community or home they want to live in – 90% or more said they had.
Question 01 What is the average life expectancy of a woman and a man aged 65 years?
90 and 86
87 (woman) and 84 (man) – Correct (64%)
80 and 77
Comment: If you manage to live to the age of 65 you still have a long way to go – on average! This is a good thing to know when you consider when to take Social Security and budget your retirement – outliving your money is not pleasant. (Note: We added the age of a woman to this question following a Member suggestion).
Note: The 4th module in our Retirement 101 Online Retirement Preparation Course is a 20 Question Quiz
February 20, 2019 — One of the wisest pieces of advice we have ever heard is to “know what you don’t know”. The adage applies perfectly to the world of retirement, where good planning can lead to a solid understanding of the hazards and potential joys that lie behind the next door. Plunging into retirement without a plan means you take the risk of making some very big mistakes, or missing opportunities that could have made you very happy.
This Module of our online Retirement Preparation course is a short quiz. Use the “Take the Quiz Now” link to answer the questions as honestly as you can. Note that they represent just a sample of the areas you need to plan for. When you finish taking the quiz you will be given a score that reflects a rough estimate of the state of your retirement preparation. You can use that to assess the areas you need to work on.
Note: This is the third module in our Retirement Planning 101 online training course. See bottom for links to Module 1 and 2.
February 7, 2019 — If you are visiting this website the chances are you are thinking about living in some kind of retirement community. Even if you think you might end up staying where you live now, or just moving to a more age-appropriate home somewhere else, it is a worthwhile exercise to kick the tires in the retirement housing market. There are all kinds of communities suitable for retirement, so this Module, the 3rd in our Retirement Planning 101 Series, will help you understand the differences so that you can focus your search on the types that interest you.
Most communities serving the retirement market have some type of designation indicating they are for retirement age people. Sometimes the designation is senior living or retirement community, both of which we think are unfortunate labels, since they make us feel old. Many communities you might consider for retirement living do not have an age restriction, even though most of the people who live there might be at least 50 years of age.
Note: This is Module 2 in our Online Retirement Planning 101 Series. See end of article for full list.
January 26, 2019 — The overwhelming #1 suggestion for our Retirement 101 series was “How to Retire on Less than $1 million” (smaller numbers were suggested to). Certainly most retirees find themselves in this predicament. Living on Social Security plus maybe some small savings is not a recipe for a happy retirement – unless you take drastic steps!
Over the years in many articles we have outlined some of the tactics you can apply to make the best of this situation. But even if you fortunate to be well fixed financially in retirement, you still might be able to profit from a few of these ideas.
Exercise #1: Figure Out Your budget (this applies to everyone!).
Until you have a good idea of what your retirement expenses will be and how they match up to your income, you can’t really start planning. While not difficult to do, it is a critical step to head off what could be a disaster – running out of money way before you are ready to check out. This budget worksheet in csv format contains most of the items you need to consider when developing a budget – just input them into a spreadsheet, by hand or on a computer.
We had proposed 17 different potential modules for the course. The idea was that people could take as many as they felt they needed for their retirement planning preparation. The comments contained solid endorsement and/or additional ideas on six of our seventeen. But even better, you suggested seven topics we hadn’t thought of, and all of them were interesting. Another way to look at these suggestions is that they are a great reflection of people’s concerns about retirement – the topics that keep people up at night!
The new topics that got the most interest were “retiring without a lot of money”, “being single in retirement”, “loneliness and social relationships in retirement”, and “the family bind/sandwich/family relationships”. Interesting that so many have to do with the social aspect of retirement, a topic that gets overlooked in retirement planning. We have selected some of the representative suggestions below (and as you will see, they were great!). Of course, we welcome more ideas for the series too!
Updated February 25, 2021 (Originally January, 2019) — We’ve heard it said that new parents shouldn’t have their new babies released to them until they have passed a child rearing class. Something similar might be said for retirees – retirement is far too important a project to undertake without some preparation and planning. To that end we have created a multipart online training class on retirement preparation – and this is the first Module. As we imagine it, people can take the course years before they actually pull the retirement trigger. It can also be used as refresher training for those who are already enjoying their retirements.
At this point the course has 10 modules (see list at bottom), but we are not stopping there. Our members have suggested the themes for several of the modules (see Comments section below), and we will continue to add more in the years to come.
Updated January, 2020 — (originally published April 23, 2013) — Note: This is Part 7 of our “Retirement 101” series.
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