Sense & Centsibility Blog

Retirement: Start Planning as Early as Possible

Woman looking off over waterI recently heard a 65 year old couple will need an average of $220,000 to cover their medical expenses throughout retirement. That is extremely daunting to me. I will need almost a quarter of a million dollars when I retire just to cover my medical needs.

Then I started thinking… what else will I need? 

The basics of course, utilities, food, transportation. What about my mortgage? Am I on track to have that paid off before retirement? I just checked. If I pay nothing extra each month, I would have my mortgage paid off 5 years prior to retiring. That’s good news I guess. I plan to do a lot more activities once I retire. (Because that’s the whole point of being able to retire isn’t it?) How much will I need? To help you determine how much money you'll need, check out the retirement calculator from

Where will my retirement income come from?

On average 35% of your retirement income comes from Social Security, 17% from Pensions, 11% from assets, and 3% from other sources. What about that missing 34%? That comes from earnings during retirement. That’s right...that means working even though you are supposed to be done working!

What changes can you make now to have more money later?

Get your unsecured debts paid off sooner rather than later. Talk with a Certified Financial Counselor to see if a Debt Management Plan is a good option for you as a DMP will help you pay off credit cards faster.

Want to see if the DMP is right for you? Start your free online counseling session.

Pay extra on your mortgage and vehicle loans if it's affordable. Are you taking full advantage of your employers’ retirement plan? Are you putting in at least the minimum to get your employers full match benefit?  Little changes today can make big differences later. This is just a little food for thought to help you get the ball rolling on planning for retirement. Do whatever you can now so that you can really enjoy your golden years... and so you won't have to work while you're supposed to be retired.

Author Katie Eastman is a Certified Financial Counselor with LSS Financial Counseling and she specializes in budget, credit, and debt counseling.