If you're eligible to receive a monthly pension when you retire, congratulations! You're one of the lucky ones. But that doesn't mean you don't have to protect yourself from what could be a gruesome retirement.
It's time for some tough love. After all, I want you to have a comfortable retirement doing all the things you've desired.
Maybe you plan to dine in fine restaurants, travel to the Galapagos Islands to see blue-footed boobies, take your grandchildren to Hershey, Pa., to eat chocolate to their hearts' content -- and then come home to your spiffy retirement community.
There's talk -- a lot of talk -- about the "R" word. That talk revolves around whether we're already in a recession, about to hit one, nearly halfway through one already, and how deep, wide, mild, severe, mentholated, or decaffeinated this particular one is and/or will be.
We each have a vision of what we want from our retirement years. Mine involves a lot of travel, maybe on my own by sailboat or small plane, but always starting out from a friendly community of caring neighbors who swap stories over coffee, share fun projects, and help each other out when needed.
Rising health-care and food costs and a slowing economy have hit many Americans in their debit cards -- and their retirement plans. The Employee Benefit Research Institute's annual survey reports that just 18% of workers and 29% of retirees are "very confident" they'll have the resources for a comfortable retirement -- the lowest levels in seven years.
When I think about my retirement, I imagine a series of happy images: summer sun glinting on the water, traveling in my own sailboat or small airplane to faraway places I can explore leisurely, and lots of happy moments shared with friends and family.
Starting to put money aside toward retirement early in your life helps you build a big retirement nest egg. But if you've waited until your 50s to start thinking about saving for retirement, you're not doomed to a miserable retirement. By taking advantage of some special provisions that only apply to older workers, you can turbocharge your retirement savings when you need it most.
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