What if life doesn’t go according to plan?  We take the time to plan for our retirement. But often times, life doesn’t happen as we draw it up on paper.  We may find our nest egg isn’t as big as we need it to be. Or, we may be forced to retire earlier than we expect.  And for some, we may have to support our kids or our parents when we retire.  What if life doesn’t go according to our plans?

We’ll talk about it in today’s episode of Monday Morning Money.

Video:  What If…

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We all have visions of what our ideal retirement should look like.  Perhaps its traveling a little bit, maybe playing a round or two of golf.  For some it’s volunteering.  For me it’s making sawdust and scrap lumber.  But sometimes life has other ideas and throws a wrench into the works.

Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans (John Lennon)

So much of what we do is helping people plan for the financial part of retirement.  And those plans center around what our clients want to do when they leave the workforce.  But sometimes, many times, real life doesn’t always work out as we draw it up on paper.

Less in Savings Than Expected

It could be that future returns on our savings are well below what we expected.  Or maybe, a major stock market crash happens right before we retire.

In either event your savings may not be what you were expecting.

Does this mean you delay your retirement? Maybe you work part-time for a while.  Or maybe you figure out ways to adjust your lifestyle.

Maybe you’re forced to retire earlier than you planned.  37% of retired Americans reported they retired earlier than expected.  Health problems, early buyout offers, layoffs and family issues were the reasons given.

Retiring Early

A forced early retirement creates its own set of challenges.  You have less time to save, so you could have a smaller nest egg.  This could also force you to start your Social Security before your normal retirement age.  This results in a smaller benefit, in some cases up to 30% less.

It could also mean a significant expense for health insurance until you are eligible for Medicare.

Family Matters

And for many, family can be the disruption.  A study revealed for people over 50 nearly 15% have a child or grandchild under the age of 18 living with them.  Approximately 10% had another family member living with them.  This could be adult children, parents, or other family members. And roughly 28% support someone outside their home in some way.

Helping the people we care about the most can also change your retirement.

What if

We need to plan for the possibility of a significant disruption in our lives.  The specifics are nearly impossible to identify or predict.  But as we’re thinking ahead we need to ask ourselves the “what if” questions.

  • What if we can’t save as much as we need?

  • What if we have to retire early?

  • What if we have to help support our kids or our parents?

  • What if things don’t go according to our plans?

Sometimes when life happens we have to adjust, chart a new course,  and figure out how to use what we have to create the best situation for both today and the future.