It's hard to plan for retirement. One reason is that unanticipated problems can disrupt your retirement planning and make it almost impossible to recover financially.

In the following video, Dan Caplinger, The Motley Fool's director of investment planning, goes through three of these retirement planning traps. First, Dan notes that many people fail to take into account the financial needs of other family members, including parents, children, and grandchildren. Second, many retirees think they'll be able to downsize from their family homes and unlock home equity, but Dan points out how that strategy failed during the housing bust. Finally, Dan warns about assuming that one working spouse can support an older retired spouse, given the risk of a layoff or a disability that can quickly wreck a financial plan. Dan concludes that you need to include contingencies in your retirement planning to avoid these potential traps before you can fall into them.

Have general questions about Social Security? Email them to, and they might be the subject of a future video!

Dan Caplinger and The Motley Fool have no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.