Retirement Planning: The One Obstacle Retirees Are the Least Prepared For

There are lots of financial goals to plan for in life. At the top of almost every investor's list is retirement planning. An ocean of ink has been spilled detailing our nation's financial inability to adequately prepare for a comfortable retirement. Though, on some level, this has always been the case, the problem cannot be denied -- the average American is woefully underprepared for life after retirement.

Yet once folks do enter retirement, the challenges they face are almost never talked about. Sure, we like to focus on a loss of steady income as the most noticeable change to expect, but a recent study by Merrill Lynch and Age Wave says there's a lurking variable that's not getting nearly enough attention.

In the following video, Motley Fool contributor Brian Stoffel talks about what this variable is, and some unique ways to go about preparing for it.

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Read/Post Comments (16) | Recommend This Article (25)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 7:12 AM, carlytx wrote:

    The problem is education. Retirement planning education should be mandatory starting in elementary school and right through college and beyond. The key is to start saving/investing early in life, be consistent, take advantage of any employer matching plan, max out contributions when possible, eliminate debt, avoid risks with your nest egg and plan for multiple streams of income once retired (social security, pensions, dividends, part time work, etc.). There is a great deal of information about retirement available on the web. One of the sites I use is the site Retirement And Good Living which provides information on finances, health, retirement locations, part time work and also has a great blog of guest posts about a variety of retirement topics.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 8:19 AM, jdrmonte wrote:

    I retired 6 years ago and this video is B. S.

    If you have repercussions from retiring as stated in this video you have not worked hard enough during your career or you have been unwilling to accept new challenges and responsibility. Oh, yeah, lets all move to France for six months in the middle of our career to find ourselves! Yeah, that sounds peachy!The person who is being scarred from lack of social interaction is the same guy who does not have snow removed from his sidewalk in the winter time!

    jdrmonte

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 9:42 AM, TMFCheesehead wrote:

    @jdrmonte-

    Sincerely, I'm glad this hasn't been a problem for you. I don't, however, think the people in the survey taken by Merrill Lynch and Age Wave were lying: this appears to represent an under-appreciated problem for a good portion of retirees.

    As for the mini-retirement, I'll be the first to say that it isn't for everyone. I brought it up because when my wife and I read about it, it was the first time we thought about such an approach, and it worked for us.

    Foolish best,

    Brian Stoffel

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 10:16 AM, Beljest wrote:

    Retirement is a time for NEW friends. Missing social contact? Join a social club! No money? Take an interest in your community, find out what's happening at the local senior center. Volunteer!!! Many places from hospitals, schools, sports teams, museums, symphonies have like-minded individuals with whom you can participate. Get out there and Have Fun! If I can, anybody can do it.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 10:31 AM, Beljest wrote:

    Unless you live in "Outer" anywhere there are potential friends everywhere. If you live in an apartment building go introduce yourself to the human beings in the unit next door, or down the hall. Offer them an egg or a cup of sugar - honey works better than vinegar. Host a floor or building party. If you live in a residential area isn't it about time you met your neighbors? Honestly, you are only as isolated as you want to be. My mom is 95 and she still has friends from elemental school, the retirement community where she lived, the senior center and nursing home where is now. So what if you can't go to France? If you are past "bloom where you're planted," past being fruitful and multiplying...it's not nothing, it's Nut Time. Again, Have Fun!

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 10:46 AM, sabebrush6 wrote:

    I have been retired now for almost 7 years ( I retired early and took a hit for that) & I found that you spend a lot less money daily when you're retired except you tend to take longer on vacations. It's expensive to work.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 11:37 AM, dorkmeyer wrote:

    As usual, unintended irony is the most delicious kind: jdrmonte disses "the . . . guy who does not have snow removed from his sidewalk in the wintertime," but he apparently doesn't realize that the curmudgeonly tone of his post (cf. the categorically dismissive denouncement "this video is B. S.") suggests that he himself likely personifies that guy.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 11:58 AM, jdrmonte wrote:

    dorkmeyer,

    I appreciate your words of wisdom.

    That being said my personality would be some

    sort of introvert. This means I do not particularly

    need or like people. This is in contrast to my profession which required almost constant contact with rural landowners executing conservation programs. By the way I am happily married and have one son. My sidewalk is usually clean which is no small chore in central Minnesota. Once again,I appreciated your comments.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 12:30 PM, emal2me wrote:

    There are several of us at work in our sixties and could retire if we wanted to. But with the GOP's calls for getting rid of our pensions and social security we are to afraid to retire.

    In the normal order of things we would retire and thereby open up a job opportunity for the younger generations.

    It's just another example how our politicians shaft people without even trying.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 12:36 PM, altha2008 wrote:

    The one thing that retireess are not prepared for is Kids moving back in, bringing their spouse who neither one works and the grandkids. now instead of just two of you in the house there is 7 to 10 people living with you

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 2:27 PM, LadyMantle wrote:

    I for one did a good share of traveling before retirement when I had a good job with paid time off and a good income. Too many wait to do that thinking retirement years are the time for it.

    The older you get, the harder it is to travel. Do it while you are young so you can enjoy it. Also for the sake of having some structure and balance in one's life, some semblence of work is important, a parttime job. Even if you don't need it monetarily, it gives you a sense of worth and belonging. Personally, I do not put a lot of value on family anymore or old friends. Let them go their way and I'll go mine. Being involved in the community in some way a few days a week is also a good thing, just to connect with people for group activity of some sort.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 10:03 PM, vet212 wrote:

    You do get an outstanding retirement if you are an elected or appointed civilian official of the government otherwise you are toast

  • Report this Comment On February 10, 2014, at 5:44 AM, sanlynmar wrote:

    Au contraire............ I have more (quality) friends now than I ever did when I was working. By the time my work day was finished, all I wanted to do was get home...... away from people. The constant chatter of voices in an office of claims adjusters wore me out. I looked to lunchtime as a period of peace and quiet. Now, I have made several good friends amongst my neighbors, I go to lunch once a week with one of them or my sister who lives close by. I chat with them when I walk my dogs. I can take a much needed nap each day at a time of my choosing, tidy my house when I feel like it, cook, bake, do laundry when I want. Take bike rides, watch my favorite TV shows (often saved from another day or time), read a novel. The frantic rushing about that I found so exhausting is gone from my life and I'm loving it.

  • Report this Comment On February 10, 2014, at 9:37 AM, pbj2e wrote:

    Totally agree with altha2008. The financial drain of adult offsprings is incredible. Even if they don't move in with you, their poor financial choices leave you holding the bag. Just hate for the 4 grandkids to be saddled with huge education debt. Trying to make sure some of that will be provided. I haven't lived so cheaply since my college days.

  • Report this Comment On February 11, 2014, at 2:37 AM, johnboy0007 wrote:

    I disagree, it's not that hard to connect with new people in retirement. Some of us aren't that social to begin with. Retirees just have to be involved in something after retirement that gives them the opportunity to meet other people.

  • Report this Comment On February 11, 2014, at 2:39 AM, johnboy0007 wrote:

    altha, sorry but you let them move in. Sometimes you have to say no and lay the rules down. I already am prepping my kids 14 and 11 they are not moving back after 19.

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