Your Insurance Matters: What is a major obstacle to retirement?

Your Insurance Matters
What is a major obstacle to retirement?
by Shirley R. Lamdan, CLU, Hagerstown, MD
Monthly Contributing Writer

What is a major obstacle to retirement? U. S, News and World Report explored this question in a June 2010 article.
Most people would guess the biggest problem is just not having enough money.
Okay. Then the article digs further.
But why don't people have enough money to retire?
Of course, you'll say, they just didn't save enough.
Again, the article asks: but why didn't they save enough?
The problem, U. S. News and World Report discovers, is debt.
Not just any type of debt, either. It's consumer debt. Debt that is non-mortgage.
This is the kind of debt that prevents people from saving more money during their working years. Then, in retirement, it's also the kind of debt that weighs down the retirement budget.
These obligations burden retirement by increasing money needs and forcing people to work longer before they retire. Then, they must continue to work after retirement.
U. S. News and World Report cites some recent studies showing that a majority of Americans expect that their debt obligations will limit their retirement savings.
No super-easy solutions are around the corner for the issue of debt and retirement. Here are some U. S. News and World Report suggestions that may help with saving more money and getting out of debt:
No More Borrowing! (This is ranked as the most crucial step.)
Make Saving for Your Retirement a Top Priority. Even when people save only a small amount, doing so on a regular basis can add up over time. This also instills the positive habit of saving for retirement. If your employer offers a "match" for your 401K contribution, this will help jump-start your savings.
If you don't have a retirement plan at work, ask your independent insurance agent for flexible retirement products. These will help you save easily and securely.
Trim Your Budget. U. S. News and World Report offers suggestions here, too. Rather than going to extremes, like counting every penny and forbidding any and every purchase, try to figure out what area(s) cause you to overspend. For those areas, you can set limits. Then, just try to stick to those limits.
The last two suggestions concern planning:
Plan for the Unexpected. It's often emergency costs that throw budgets off-kilter completely. So setting up an emergency savings fund will help prevent putting people into even more debt.
Plan for the Expected. This is a really smart way to think about planning. While we all know about saving for unexpected emergencies, it's the large expenses that we fully anticipate, that throw us off-budget. Items like the next car, a new roof, long term care, and so on, should be planned for, by saving well ahead of time.
Consider insurance solutions, too, for additional and secure retirement savings and for long term care. Call your independent insurance professional for high quality and cost-effective options.

Since 1982, Shirley R. Lamdan, CLU of Hagerstown, MD has been serving individuals, corporations, and nonprofits with independent retirement and insurance services. She can be contacted at 301-791-9427 and