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Way Behind on Your Retirement Savings? This Episode of Money Confidential Is for You

·33 min read
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Saving for retirement is one of those things that money experts recommend over and over again. But what happens if life gets in the way? That's the reality for Louise (not her real name), a 64-year-old marketing manager who called in for this week's Money Confidential podcast. She's wondering how she can turn her financial future around, with very little saved for retirement and a recent layoff.

Louise has accomplished some financial goals, such as paying for her kids' college education and another child's expensive treatments for addiction. But her husband had to close his business, and Louise's career has faced setbacks due to layoffs—the most recent one a few months back. A bankruptcy and some bad investments, chosen by a money manager, also hindered their progress. "We are not lavish—we had very normal cars and not big jewelry, or we don't eat out a lot," Louise says. "I wish somebody could sit next to me at work and tell me what I'm doing wrong."

You cannot make up for a devastating loss in income. It is small steps, little chunks. You can't work 12 jobs to make up. It's not going to happen. You keep working, and then hopefully even if you can just hold out til 70 so you get that maximum Social Security benefit, you'll make it.

—Jill Schlesinger, CBS news Business analyst and host of the Jill on Money and Eye on Money podcasts.

Host Stefanie O'Connell Rodriguez turned to Jill Schlesinger, CFP, a business analyst for CBS News, for advice. Schlesinger has heard these stories before: "A baby boomer, who's maybe taken on their kids' debt and gotten their kids through college, but has come up short and is 60, 63 years old and says, I guess I'll just have to work forever," she says. "And my fear is always, well, what if you can't?"

Saving early and often gives you options earlier in your career—if you want to start a business or need to leave a toxic workplace—and later on, if you do find yourself unemployed at 64. "The only reason for you to save early in your life is to give you options and options feel good," Schlesinger says.

Schlesinger recommends taking three big steps now to secure your financial future. First, establish an emergency reserve fund with six to 12 months of living expenses now—and closer to two years' worth of expenses if you're getting ready to retire. Second, tackle any consumer debt, like credit cards, student loans, or car loans. And then, it's on to saving for retirement—maxing it out to the best of your ability (even though she concedes that the annual maximum, $19,500, may be a tough goal for people to manage).

Schlesinger also thinks that the pandemic may have paved the way for longer, but more flexible careers for everyone. "We've just seen this sudden shift to remote work, which may be actually good news for a lot of workers," she says. "I think that if you're considering going back into the labor force, you might be more willing to do that if you say, 'Hey, I don't have to commute five days a week or I don't have to be onsite every single minute, or I can create a hybrid environment that will give me a little more longevity.'"

And for Louise, that may be her best opportunity for a more secure retirement, and one that she relishes. "I love working," she says. "When I retire I know that I'm going to volunteer because I cannot stand to just sit around the house. So as long as I'm going to work, I might as well get paid for it. I don't want to play Mahjong and pickleball—that's just not my thing."

Listen to this week's Money Confidential—"I'm 64 and I've barely saved for retirement. What should I do?"—for the full conversation to help you catch up on your retirement savings. Money Confidential is available on Apple podcasts, Amazon, Spotify, Player FM, Stitcher, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.

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Transcript

Evelyn: I only recently, within the last year, started contributing to my 401k for the first time. I was embarrassed that I waited as long as I did.

Christie: I am eligible to retire in about six years.I would love to be able to do that, but I know I have to work.

Ella: I'm just worried about ending up in a place where it's like you didn't plan ahead and I look back and I'm like, oh my God, I'm 50. And I just didn't save

Stefanie O'Connell Rodriguez: This is Money Confidential, a podcast from Real Simple about our money stories, struggles and secrets. I'm your host, Stefanie O'Connell Rodriguez. And today our guest is a 64-year-old marketing manager, laid off during the pandemic, who we're calling Louise—not her real name.

Louise: I've always had a terrible relationship with money. I am both stupid and I am lazy. And I'm the first one to admit it. A lot of this involves my husband. We've been together since high school, and whenever money came up, I would always push it toward him and then he would always push it back toward me. There were so many choices, there were so many decisions to make. I just didn't understand any of the terms. So we just chose to paralyze ourselves, put our money in savings, and that was how we started. And that's almost how we're ending.

Stefanie O'Connell Rodriguez: Well, putting your money in savings is not a stupid thing.

Louise: No, but we didn't do mutual funds or stocks. I worked for NBC Sports and left to have my kids. I got my choice of getting my pension or getting in the lump sum, took it in the lump sum. We did go to a money manager who did invest it for us.

She invested in a very risky fund and when it went south, not that I expected her to pay us back, but she was just like, "oh, well, that's what happens. "And I think that just left a really bad taste in our mouths. We also used the good part of it—my husband started his own business which was successful for a while.

So around 2000 the kids were getting older. I went back to work part time, his business imploded.

So we started to go south fast. I went back to work full time. In 2002 things were okay, but he was still trying to make the business work and it really wasn't. So we were selling stocks to pay the mortgage.

Plus the kids were going to college and I have three kids. He wanted to pay for their college and he didn't want them to know that we were in financial trouble. He's a kind of guy that always lands on his feet and he told them that we would pay for their college and they went to nice colleges and he never really landed on his feet.

So we sort of floated 'til 2008. I was working for a newspaper at the time, so it was like the perfect storm, right? It was, you know, newspapers, not exactly flourishing. The recession hit and his business just was not going to happen. He tried to find other lines of business and they just weren't happening. So we had three kids in college and no income.

Stefanie O'Connell Rodriguez: Did you pay full freight for all three of your children's college educations?

Louise: Two of them. We're still paying two of them. My third child started using drugs. around 2010, like heroin, like full-blown addiction living on the street, coming back and forth.

She's clean a year now, but all the things that we paid for, for her, between rehabs and paying for all her expenses and all those things, it was sort of like another college tuition.

Stefanie O'Connell Rodriguez: That's a lot to work through. It's a lot financially. It's a lot emotionally. And I'm wondering during that time, how were you working through it?

Louise: We had good savings. When my husband was doing well, he was doing really well.

If I could do my pros and cons, one of my pros is that we are not lavish. We had like very normal cars and not big jewelry, or we don't eat out a lot. So we were pretty good savers. We're still pretty good savers.

I knew that we remortgaged the house, but I didn't know we had paid 350. He remortgaged it for 675. And again, I don't mean to blame him. It was my fault for not being involved. But when we signed the papers, I was like 675.

So we paid down our credit cards and just everything. We ended up, of course, building up our credit cards again, and we ended up declaring bankruptcy and we lost our house.

I think it was around 2013.

Stefanie O'Connell Rodriguez: Is the bankruptcy still on your credit report?

Louise: I keep waiting for it to come off. I think it's this September that it finally will come off. We have gotten a lot of breaks for unfortunate reasons. His father passed away and his sisters let us live in his house for free. We just paid them the taxes and we made a lot of repairs on it, but we didn't pay rent or anything. And his father left us some money. My mother passed away. She left us some money.

So we kept kind of getting these influxes that kept us afloat.

I did eventually find another job after that. But we just keep getting laid off. And I wish somebody could sit next to me at work and tell me what I'm doing wrong.

I think part of it is because when you reenter the workforce in 2008, I was 52 years old. You know the young kids are going out and they're making their relationships. It's hard to slip into that socially. To fit in someplace when you're starting at that age.

I was just laid off in December, again. Five of us were let go and we were all over the age of 50. Nobody wants to sue because we know that we can't go up against them. So we're just all moving on. So now I'm looking for my next opportunity at 64 years old.

My parents' generation was, you know, you graduated high school on a Friday, you started your job on Monday and 40 years later, you got your gold watch and your great big pension and you left and that's how it was.

I have taken online courses. So now I'm taking a certificate program through Columbia business school in digital marketing to kind of just refresh my skills. I did that the last time too through Rutgers. I'm lucky to be able to do that, especially with the pandemic, to be able to do it online.

And it's fairly affordable and really interesting, and good for the job market.

Stefanie O'Connell Rodriguez: Now, as you have been navigating through this pandemic, have you been able to claim unemployment benefits or any other benefits?

Louise: Yes. And that's helped.

And then also I just got notification yesterday that my company will cover the COBRA or the government I guess is covering it so that's really helpful. And then my husband's already on Medicare.

At one point I had a hundred dollars in my savings account. Now I have other places I could take it from. We're at the point where we have built up a nest egg, but I'm thinking, how am I going to, I can't even pay the cell phone bill.

And then all of a sudden I finally get through to somebody and I get another influx. And now I feel I can literally sleep at night. So I'm pretty good at being poor. You know my father died when my mother was pregnant with my youngest sister and she was a secretary and she supported us and we never missed a meal.

Always lived in a nice house, went to Catholic school. Somehow she managed to do it. And she really gave me those tools to—You know, some nights we have steak and some nights we have pancakes.

So I have a good foundation to survive when things are not going great.

Stefanie O'Connell Rodriguez: It sounds like you have a lot of savvy around managing the day to day. How do I make it? How do I make my money work today? But it sounds like it's the longer term financial planning that creates the discomfort.

Louise: Yes. Yes. We did go to another advisor a couple of years ago. My husband wasn't working at all. Now he drives Lyft and substitute teaches, so he does ok. But the advisor said to me, he said, at the way that you're going, you're just never going to be able to retire.

And we left and we went without a plan. I have about a hundred thousand dollars in 401ks and other savings. We've managed to kind of keep that together, so it's not that we have nothing.

And really our game plan is, because we live in the Northeast. I really don't want to do this, but to move to a cheaper state, I really don't want to leave here. You know, my family is here. I feel that we can make it work here, but that's sort of like our backup plan if nothing else happens.

And I'm healthy and I really enjoy working. So as long as I can stay employed, that's sort of our plan. If I could save another 50,000 between now and retirement I'd feel a little more comfortable.

Our plan to work 'til 70 is also not to take social security until 70,

Stefanie O'Connell Rodriguez: And do you enjoy working? I was going to ask that.

Louise: I love working. When I retire I know that I'm going to volunteer because I cannot stand to just sit around the house. So as long as I'm going to work, I might as well get paid for it.

As long as I have my marbles and my eyesight, I'm kind of thinking that I'm okay. But you know, that's a big if.

I've worked in so many different places. I've worked in like five different industries that I really don't get bored. So many people my age are counting the days till they retire and they just hate their jobs.

And I think I almost rather be in my position, you know—and they have oodles of money and they're fine, but I'd almost rather be in my position, working and happy. And I don't want to play Mahjong and pickleball and that's just not my thing.

Stefanie O'Connell Rodriguez: While Louise may love working, the reality is that American workers consistently retire earlier than they initially expected and overestimate the likelihood that they'll be able to continue working in some capacity after they retire.

So after the break, we'll talk to Certified Financial Planner and CBS News Business Analyst, Jill Schlesinger about how to prepare for retirement when you don't have enough retirement savings

Jill Schlesinger: I think that we have a lot of people who, especially baby boomers who started their careers, believing they were on one path. And then all of a sudden there were a zillion different hurdles and snow storms and ice pelting things and fires and droughts and all these things just popped up. So if they were lucky enough to start, they're saving for retirement early and stayed kind of in a boring, straight, narrow financial lane, they were okay.

But if they were ever changing lanes and doing anything slightly risky, they really got punished in a lot of ways.

Stefanie O'Connell Rodriguez: That's Jill Schlesinger, in addition to her work as a business analyst for CBS News, she is also the host of the Jill on Money and Eye on Money podcasts.

Jill Schlesinger: Everyone always says, oh, this is unprecedented, certainly a pandemic, a lockdown is an unprecedented experience for US economy. On the other hand, if you kind of stuck to your basics and you didn't go nuts, you probably should be okay.

So for the people who were rich, you really sailed through the last 30 years and were unscathed.

If you were in the middle, it hurt and things slowed down and your wage level kind of stagnated. So I think it's been a really tough time and I have a lot of compassion for these people because I think sometimes you, it's like being a millennial and say, well, you told me to go to college. You told me to borrow money and now there's no fricking job.

Well, hopefully that's changing. So hopefully there's a lot of jobs and hopefully you get to choose the way you want to work.

Stefanie O'Connell Rodriguez: Speaking of jobs, for someone who is post pandemic, coming back into the labor market, having been laid off, but is now maybe in their sixties, what are some of the considerations that they should be keeping in mind and how to make the workforce work for them?

Jill Schlesinger: There is an aspect of this pandemic that's really changed the nature of how we work. We've just seen this sudden shift to remote work, which may be actually good news for a lot of workers. I think that if you're considering going back into the labor force, you might be more willing to do that if you say, 'Hey, I don't have to commute five days a week or I don't have to be onsite every single minute, or I can create a hybrid environment that will give me a little more longevity.'

So I think that the hybrid work model could really be good. I'm intrigued by the idea that people in their fifties or sixties or seventies could potentially find a new endeavor that will fulfill them and make them really want to keep working. Because not that I think work is the greatest thing in the world.

There are a lot of people who have bad jobs and it's not good for you. But if you're in a knowledge-based workplace, if you enjoy what you do, if you get fulfillment and you feel like you're maybe making a difference, then that's awesome.

And so I think that there are different ways to take your career later in life. And I think that considering that we're living so much longer, retirement is sort of essentially like a 35-year unemployment period. So you better like your hobbies.

Stefanie O'Connell Rodriguez: So I love this idea of extending our work life and seeing that actually this might be a reinvention of work, this hybrid model that facilitates a longer work life in maybe a way that works more on our own terms.

But I think sometimes it tips over into this idea that because I will work forever or be forced to work forever—what's the point of trying to save for retirement?

Jill Schlesinger: I mean, if that's the case, then I feel like they're not really paying attention.

What I hear more is, I hear that from, actually a baby boomer, who's maybe taken on their kids' debt and gotten their kids through college, but has come up short and is, you know, 60, 63 years old. Says, I guess I'll just have to work forever. And my fear is always, well, what if you can't. You know, that's always my fear.

I want to have my options. I want to work. I want to not work. The only reason for you to save early in your life is to give you options and options feel good. You have an awful boss and you have the option to quit and go find a new job only if you've saved enough money to do so.

You say, I really want to be able to make a career shift. I want to feel more passionate about what I do. I want to do that. Okay. You can do that as long as you've done the hard work and squirreled away a few bucks, or I'm really ready to open my new business. And I'm so grateful because I started early enough and now I can kind of turn my side hustle into my new business.

So all those things require one unifying trait, and that is saving early and consistently. You don't have to be a great investor. That's the mythology around this. My first job on Wall Street, I was a commodities trader on the floor of the commodities exchange in New York.

And the myth is that you think you're going to invest your way out of something. It is true that you could get fortunate. You could work for a company, get a ton of options or stock and make a lot of money. That is not the vast majority of people. The vast majority of people are saving consistently over time and using a diversified portfolio of index funds.

That's what they're doing. It's not flashy, but it works.

Stefanie O'Connell Rodriguez: I do wonder for our listener this week—she is in her mid sixties and every time she's built up some of those assets, she's had to tap into them to cover lifestyle costs, to cover financial shocks.

And so now it's like, that's not enough at 64, even if I'm going to continue working. So what does catching up even look like?

Jill Schlesinger: You know, it's, it's putting one foot in front of the other. If she can squeeze it out until her full retirement age she'll have social security and she could keep working and that may be enough.

Chances are, if she doesn't have anything horrible going on, like some big fat debt that's floating out there then she'll be able to scratch it out. You know, you cannot make up for a devastating loss in income and say, just do this. It's not do this. It is small steps, little chunks, and you do the best you can.

And that's it.

You can't work 12 jobs to make up. It's not going to happen. Time is against you. You keep working. And then hopefully even if you can just hold out till 70, so you get that maximum Social Security benefit, you'll make it.

You may not have a great, huge lifestyle, but chances are, you know, that already.

Stefanie O'Connell Rodriguez: Another thing that came up in the story was this listener had been to a financial professional before who took her money and invested it for her but wound up losing all the money.

And so that has really just turned her off from the entire industry. And I wonder having had that kind of personal economic trauma. How do you begin to build trust and re-engage?

Jill Schlesinger: You learn a very smart lesson, which is you avoid people in the financial services industry that are not held to something called the fiduciary standard.

And this is when I get to drop an F word right on your show. Isn't that great? Fiduciary. So what is a fiduciary? It is a financial professional that is operating under the premise that they have to put your financial interests before their financial interests or their firm's financial interest.

You come first. And there are a variety of different kinds of financial professionals who adhere to this fiduciary standard. So certified financial planners. I'm a certified financial planner. If I were in practice, that client's needs always comes first. CPAs are held to a fiduciary standard.

The CFA is also held to the fiduciary standard. But essentially if somebody is giving you financial advice you might presume that that person is held to this standard where they can't tell me anything that's not in my best interest, but it's a perverse world of the financial services industry. It really is. And there are a lot of people out there who give advice that is not in the client's best interest, but is simply suitable. So I might say, Stefanie, you know what you need to do. You need to save in a 529 plan.

I'll buy that for you. And that's a suitable piece of advice. It may not be the best advice for you because maybe the best advice would be you can buy your own 529 plan, do it through your state. That's the most efficient way if you want to save for college. Work with a fiduciary number one.

Number two, the cost of getting financial advice and investing has started to come down. So that's great.

The essence of it is that you should never pay for someone to just transact business.

If you're going to pay for advice, then you know, you pay for advice, but you really have to be careful. And the lesson of someone who's been burned by it, you know an insurance salesperson or a money investment manager who just is basically collecting a fee for not doing much, is that if you're just doing money management, if you're just having, yeah, I've got an IRA.

There's 50 grand in it, and I want someone to manage it. That cost should be driven down very, very low. Most of the major firms do it. And if you want to do it yourself it can be even cheaper. Pick four or five different index funds. Call it a day, put it on autopilot.

Stefanie O'Connell Rodriguez: What should somebody who is in their mid sixties be thinking about beyond just their investment portfolio?

Jill Schlesinger: I don't even think it's 60. I think it's everyone.

So Jill's big three. You want to establish an emergency reserve fund. You should have six to 12 months of your living expenses in a safe money market savings short-term CD. That's number one, six to 12 months. That's the deal. If you are nearing retirement, it's one to two years of your expenses should be safe.

And then number two, pay down consumer debt, not mortgage debt, but we're talking about credit card debt and auto loan, student debt. Pay that off, get it done. Student loans aren't cheap anymore. They're actually still pretty expensive. And the final thing is maximize your retirement account to the best of your ability.

$19,500 is a lot of money to put away. Even if it's a Roth IRA, $6,000, if you're under the age of 50, an extra catch-up contribution if you're over the age of 50.

And then in addition to that, is somebody going to suffer if I die financially? Right. Everyone's going to suffer emotionally—I promise, don't worry. But if you die, is there going to be some financial consequences to someone in your life? For young people who are supporting their parents, it may be your parents are gonna suffer. For parents who have young kids—your kids are going to suffer. So run a life insurance calculator, see how much life insurance you need. And most firms provide disability insurance. Disability is what happens an injured or something bad happens to you during your work years and you can no longer collect your income. So that's a piece of, of sort of insurance coverage to think about.

I think the one that gets short shrift is the estate planning, which, you know, nobody wants to do. Just do it because frankly, it's not that hard to do it. You're just such a wimp if you can't confront your own mortality, I know I'm supposed to be much nicer about that, but it's a very difficult mistake to correct.

When I was in practice I could correct any investment problem. I really could. I could even get people on the right track for saving. I could get them to pay down debt. You die without a will for me to actually help your surviving spouse or your family member?

That's hard. I can't correct that mistake. So if you haven't done your estate documents in 30 years and you are approaching retirement, go and check it. Or go to a lawyer, go to an estate attorney if you've never done it, and you're scared and you say, I'm not gonna spend $3,000 on that.

Just do something. Go online and check it out.

It's certainly better than writing it down on a 9napkin. So I think that those are issues. And then of course, as you're thinking about retirement and even in your work life, I think many more people are much more attuned to health insurance and you know, "oh, what's going to happen to me".

I guess a global pandemic cured me of that response. You know, bad things can happen.

Stefanie O'Connell Rodriguez:I do want to,touch on the title of your book, which is the Dumb Things Smart People Do With Their Money. Is there anything from that book that's really coming to mind for this listener to be thinking about?

Jill Schlesinger: I wanted to do a chapter about retirement. And I have to say that retirement is, uh, always a boring chapter in every book. It's like, oh, I'm going to just tell them to save and use their 401k. So I went and talked to a number of financial planners that I knew from when I was in practice.

And I said, what's the biggest mistake that people make when it comes to retirement? The one that really stuck out was that people retired too early. Or spend too much money in the early years of their retirement.

So the reason why that always struck me as something interesting is that. It is worrisome when someone is retiring at age 62, when you can't get Medicare for three years, it is worrisome when someone says, oh my God, I've just lived through a pandemic and I am not going to wait for something bad to happen. I'm going to travel the world for seven years and blow through a big chunk of my savings. 'Cause who knows what happens next, but then they get back seven years later and there's no money left.

So those are the kinds of things that were surprising and interesting to me.

I know that you and I are often asked questions about, you know, what's the rule of thumb and the rule of thumb is there is no rule of thumb.

You know, what is the rule of thumb for your health? Uh, eat less, exercise more, you know, be healthy. Don't drink too much. Don't smoke. That's all true. And then, you know, you have this unicorn weirdo that's like, oh, well, I've been smoking for 72 years and I'm 88 years old and I'm fine. So I think the big takeaway is that each person is born into different circumstances.

And you've got to acknowledge some of that..I'm lucky I was born with every advantage.

And so I could do lots of things in my life. And I knew I had a safety net that if I screwed up that my family would be there for me, and that will be fine. And I made a ton of money early in my career that I squirreled away when I was a trader. And it allowed me to futz around for a few years and figure out what I wanted to do.

And so that is my circumstance, but would I recommend to somebody to give up a lucrative career as a certified financial planner and investment advisor, owning a firm, making a lot of money and leave that for the unknown universe of being a business journalist for a fraction of the money that I was earning?

I mean what that's terrible advice. Right? But in my circumstances I could pull it off. And, and so I think the biggest takeaway is that each of us has a financial story that we tell ourselves. And it is really good to be able to understand objectively, what are my options? What can I do here? How can I improve my life?

And where do I want to go? If your goal is, I want to fully fund my retirement. I want to fully fund my three kids' college education. It may be that you've got to work in a job that you don't love so much for a while. And then maybe if three of your kids don't need to go to very fancy private schools and they go to state schools, or they have somehow figured out how to get fantastic scholarships, maybe you can retire early, but each of those scenarios requires you to actually understand number one, what do you want to do? And what's possible?

Stefanie O'Connell Rodriguez: You know, I think that context is really important because one of the themes that's come up in so many of my conversations is so many people are internalizing where they are financially as a personal failure.

People carry so much shame with them. It stands in the way of them even being able to engage with their finances or open the bills. And I don't think it's serving us.

Jill Schlesinger: I really think that it's a terrible thing, what we do to ourselves.

My niece is a school teacher and we had this conversation all the time. You know, she's a school teacher in New York City. She loves it. She's so into it, but is she going to be a gazillionaire? No, she's not. She's gonna have a great pension. She's saving money. She lives well below her means. She shares an apartment for the first eight years of her career.

So, I really want to encourage people to try not to do it. I know how there's like a you know, a little bit of human nature here, right?

There is envy and there's fear and there's greed, but all those things—if you can throw it out the window as much as possible.

If you can make yourself better. You can do the best with what you have. You can do the best with the career you have. Most people that I talked to don't actually have as a goal, I want to be a gazillionaire. Most people are like, I just want to live my life and have a nice life and, you know, hanging out with my partner and maybe have some kids, maybe have some four-legged, you know, critters in my house and be happy and have balance. And that kind of gets back to that earlier part of our conversation, which is maybe the lesson of this pandemic is, you know, life is fragile.

We are fragile. And is there a way for me to better balance the life that I want to live so that it's not so tilted in the, in the favor of the acquisitive, work-based, you know, crazy-making kind of pursuit and to just say, what is it that I really want to do and try to achieve those goals?

Stefanie O'Connell Rodriguez: So how can Louise, or anyone, better prepare for that kind of balanced life in retirement? Remember Jill's big three—1. An emergency savings fund, which as you approach retirement age, you may want to bump up to include one to two years of expenses. 2. Pay down consumer debt like credit cards, auto loans and student debt. And 3. Maximize your retirement accounts as best you can—taking advantage of extra catch up contribution allowances if you're over the age of 50.

The rise of remote and hybrid work as a result of the pandemic may also help Louise and other older workers remain in the workforce longer. If she can find work that allows her to remain employed until her full retirement age, she can maximize her Social Security benefit. Plus, by working until at least 65 she can bridge the gap in health coverage until she becomes eligible for Medicare.

Finally, meeting with a financial professional like a Certified Financial Planner who is held to a fiduciary standard can help Lousie and anyone else preparing for retirement consider the full scope of their financial plans—not just their savings, investments and expenses, but also their insurance coverage, healthcare, and estate planning documents. Giving her a roadmap for objectively understanding her options, and creating a customized plan to take her where she wants to go within the context of her unique retirement reality.

This has been Money Confidential from Real Simple. If you have a money story or question to share, you can send me an email at money dot confidential at real simple dot com. You can also leave us a voicemail at ‪(929) 352-4106.

Come back next week when we'll be talking to a 39-year old college professor who, despite earning a great salary, feels like she is still stuck in a cycle of living paycheck to paycheck.

Be sure to follow Money Confidential on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you listen so you don't miss an episode. And we'd love your feedback. If you're enjoying the show leave us a review, we'd really appreciate it. You can also find us online at realsimple.com/MoneyConfidentialPodcast.

Real Simple is based in New York City. Money Confidential is produced by Mickey O'Connor, Heather Morgan Shott and me, Stefanie O'Connell Rodriguez O'Connell Rodriguez. Thanks to our production team at Pod People: Rachael King, Matt Sav, Danielle Roth, Chris Browning and Trae [rhymes with ray] Budde [boo*dee].

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