Category Archives: Retirement/Encore Careers

Planning for Retirement

A lot of people, whether younger or older, are anxious about retirement because of the various proposals to change Social Security and because of the number of businesses and governmental entities that are curtailing retiree benefits and eliminating pensions.  With these uncertainties, it makes sense to take advantage of any retirement accumulation programs each of us can manage, and to plan for the future.  The AARP has a Retirement Calculator that I found to be easy to use.  Included is a tool that allows you to make changes to your assumptions and plans to see how they will affect your income in retirement.  For example, the amount of a likely shortfall is adjusted if you elect to retire later, work part time in retirement, put aside a larger proportion of your current salary, or reduce your lifestyle in retirement.

The Social Security Administration has a Retirement Estimator that will work for many individuals.  It assumes that you already have enough work credits to qualify for benefits and that certain other conditions do not pertain, such as already collecting Social Security benefits.  You have to enter identifying information, then you can see what your monthly benefit will be depending on the age that you choose to retire.  The same page has links to other calculators, but they are not derived from your earnings record, as the Retirement Estimator is.  There’s also a link to a document that discusses when to start taking your benefits.

Bankrate, an aggregator and publisher of bank rate information, has made a number of calculators available that allow a person to compare their retirement prospects depending on the retirement instrument he or she uses, such as traditional IRA, Roth IRA, 401(k), 403(b), or annuities.

It may be scary to see what would be needed to have a comfortable retirement, but I think it’s better to know what one’s prospects are rather than be painfully surprised when it’s too late to do anything about it.  Sue Sweeney, Chair, Gerontology Department, Madonna University


Encore Careers logo-small  Now that people tend to be living longer than ever before, what are we to do with the extra time?   A lot of people are continuing to work, but at projects that capture their interest, improve the world, and feed their souls.  The website,, describes these “encore” careers and offers resources, including an Encore Career Handbook, touted as a “guide to finding passion, purpose and a paycheck in the second half of life”.    The Encore organization also offers annual $100,000 prizes to persons over 60 years of age who are using their talents and experience to make positive changes in the world.  Read the bios of the inspiring 2012 winners of the Purpose PrizeSue Sweeney, Chair, Gerontology Department, Madonna University