Happy Friday, MarketWatchers and Retirement Weekly subscribers,
This week we looked at research highlighting how tough the road to retirement feels for many of us. Beth Pinsker wrote about retirement confidence studies from Prudential and EBRI, and drilled down into the worries of my beloved Generation X. (We’re so often ignored, but this wasn’t the kind of attention I was hoping for.)
The Prudential research showed that 80% of Gen X respondents don’t think they’ll ever be able to stop working. Of course, there’s a difference between working in retirement by choice and having to work, and no one wants to be on the “have to” side of that. EBRI’s research found that 1 in 5 Americans had less than $1,000 in savings and that retirement confidence had dropped by the most since 2008. Although quitting to retire can be incredibly liberating, Richard Eisenberg found in an interview with Julia Keller about her book “Quitting.”
Part of the problem could be confidence. Alessandra Malito wrote about how financial jargon around financial planning is scaring people away from saving for retirement — 76% of those age 50 and older said it’s a barrier to saving and investing. On top of that, more than half of women polled by the World Economic Forum said they weren’t sure if they had enough saved for retirement and didn’t understand their personal finances.
When it comes to investing, simple can be best. Paul A. Merriman wrapped up a nine-part series that teaches the fundamentals for do-it-yourself investors in which he highlights low-cost funds and small adjustments you can make to your investments that can help everyday savers turn small amounts of money into large sums over many years.
In a column this week Brett Arends looked at the investment calls of television personality Jim Cramer and how much of your own retirement portfolio may be tied up in these high-profile picks.
Sometimes it’s helpful to ask: Alessandra helped a reader who wanted to tap their 403(b) to pay off their house because the interest rate was stressing them out. Alessandra walked them through some options and we received some helpful reader comments. Jessica Hall guided a couple who was looking for a retirement spot in Florida that embraced diversity and was close to an observatory where an astronomer could see the stars. If you have questions on how to retire or where to live once you do, write us at HelpMeRetire@marketwatch.com.
Jessica interviewed Michael D. Connelly, a longtime healthcare industry executive and author of the recent book “The Journey’s End: An Investigation into Death and Dying in Modern America.” In the conversation he talks about our cultural blind spots when it comes to dying and death and offers a different way to look at this experience that we will all face one way or another. “Everyone is afraid to die. The healthcare systems sees dying as a failure,” he told her. “But if you’re in old age, dying is not a failure. It’s a natural progression.”