Q. Robert, my wife and I are both planning on retiring in the next five years, but other than our 401(k)’s at work we have not saved any additional money for retirement. Will my 401(k) be enough or should I spend the next five years saving as much as possible? – Charles, Kernersville, NC
A. Charles, it is hard for me to answer that question for you without the full picture of your financial state, however I would recommend that you and your wife discuss what your retirement goals are. Do you plan on traveling? Do you want to pay for your grandchildren to go to college? Do you want to take up an expensive hobby in retirement? Knowing your retirement goals along with your daily living expenses will give you a good idea of how much money you will need in retirement and it will show you what financial decisions to make in the next five years. I would also recommend meeting with a financial advisor in order to maximize what is in your 401(k).
Q. Robert, a health issue has forced me into retirement 8 years before my full retirement age. I feel really unprepared and I am worried about outliving the money that I have in savings and my 401(k). What can I do to ensure that does not happen? – Lisa, Kernersville, NC
A. Lisa, I am so sorry about your health issues. I would recommend speaking to a financial advisor immediately about your specific situation. There are many things that you could do to utilize the money that you do have saved and make it work for you; knowing what you are paying in fees can be a game changer with some investments. I would also recommend making a budget and sticking to it. If you are still apprehensive about retiring maybe you should consider a career change and move into a field that is less physically or mentally demanding, or perhaps something on a part-time or contract basis. The job market is changing and there are many opportunities for retirees who want a chance at a different career path.