How are you preparing for retirement? If you're already retired, what kind of changes have you had to make? Do you think you'll ever be able to afford to retire?
When we asked our Facebook fans how they were preparing for retirement, we were surprised by the 790 responses the question received. Responses varied from well-thought-out plans and financial strategies to feelings of despair and hopelessness. Some said they were moving to Belize or Canada to retire, while others said they never expected to retire. Here is a sampling of responses:
Lynn Wulff: "My husband & I both retired this past year; it's a lot crazier than we thought. Trimmed the cable bill, frequenting restaurants less often. Not buying warranties or extension plans or renewing annual termite inspections, etc. the cost of food, gas, & utilities, not to mention helping 2 college educated adult kids who are w/o jobs, is putting a strain on us. We live in DC so instead of going to the Kennedy Center we stay home & play games or rent movies."
Snickers McFlurry: "Retirement?? Bwaaaa-ahahahahahahaha! Surely, you jest! Good one, NPR! Next do a story on the American Dream, if you can find it. Should be good for laffs n' lulz."
Cheryl Gene Conrad: "I've been retired 6 years and feel quite fortunate for our situation. I have a teacher's pension and social security; my husband is unemployed. We paid off our mortgage 8 years ago, we drive nearly 10 year old cars, and we've cancelled cable TV in favor of an antenna and Netflix. So far, so good, though I've noticed especially the increase in costs at the grocery store. I do worry about the future my three grandchildren face."
Tiajuana Coates: "I'm not a very religious person, but sometimes I think the only retirement I'll get is whatever the afterlife holds. It's really sad but I'm starting to think as long as I live I'll be working constantly worrying if I have enough to get by we live in scary and depressing times."
Margo Jodyne Dills: "I was retired. Now I'm back in the work force with kids and the competition is rough, especially in the computer age. At 62, I wonder if I will work 'til I drop dead (at work.) As a writer, my last hope is for publication but in that field I am also competing with kids, many who are writing trash that gets published because of its appeal to kids. Vicious circles everywhere."
Edmund Tadros: "I'm 28 and don't ever expect to retire thanks to the generation that came before. Thanks baby boomers, way to ruin it for everyone."
Barbara Pelett: "My husband and I are both retired. He, in 1986 and me in 1996. We never felt Social Security or our state pensions would be enough to live on, so we have scrapped and saved all our married lives. We've invested in real estate rentals sufficient to amount to second jobs for both of us. Now, we are financially 'safe.' We've made and saved more money after retirement than we did during our working lives. Whenever we had a raise, or an increase in income, we never moved into a more expensive standard of living. All that said, I feel like I have lived in a golden age and that the next generation will not be able to live as well as we have. It's been a golden time in America."
Jordan Moro: "I'm 24 and I put 20% of my gross income into an IRA. I figure as long as I keep doing that I don't have to worry about much."
Ron Williamson: "We are leaving next month to scout out Belize. Plan to retire there in about 2 years, 7 years ahead of time. Through inheritance, we have the money to buy a house off the beach and a car/truck. My wife is 100% disabled and we'll be able to live on that until my retirement money kicks in. Belize is definitely the place if you have a marginal amount of money to retire on."
Mark Tabler: "I'm in my early 40s and I've hardly set aside anything. I try, but the reality of daily bills is too great, and there just isn't much left I can cut. I just recognize now that I'll probably be working well into my 70s."
Christine Ward: "I'm not really planning on ever retiring. I have a pension plan and also contribute to a 401k, but I don't know if I'll ever feel comfortable enough to retire. In all probability, I will continue to work, whether on a full-time or part-time basis, until I die. I don't see the sense of leaving my so-far stable job and benefits to 'retire,' only to find a few years into 'retirement' that I need to keep working for benefits and then try to find another job with less pay and/or benefits."