Help pack a million meals for struggling seniors on Sept. 11. Volunteer today



Decide. Create. Share.

Case Study: Financial Planning

Mary Cruz, 56, from Chula Vista, CA, has money for the basics, but will she have enough to travel?

Mary Cruz

— Photo: Dave Lauridsen/Illustration by Jon Valk

En español | Mary Cruz, 56, didn't worry about retirement until 10 years ago when she divorced, at age 46. Prior to that, her ex-husband had done the financial planning for both of them.

"It never occurred to me that I might be single when I was older," she says.

See also: Marta Miranda's profile on home and community planning.

She'll have a pension, Social Security and a 401(k) when she retires from the Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center, where she's program manager for community and multicultural relations, a job that relates to the Mexican side of her family.

She expects her retirement income will cover the basics but wants money to travel and do things with her family. She knows her financial situation is better than most working single women, but she still worries. When she divorced, she took the middle-of-the-road approach to investing: neither conservative nor risky. Back then, retirement was 20 years away. Now she wonders if she should take a second look at her investments. Are they enough?

"It's time for me to start taking care of myself financially," she says.

She'd like to have a clearer plan, especially for investing the proceeds of her 401(k) account after she retires. "Should I manage it all myself?"

You may also like: The AARP Financial Freedom Campaign.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts


Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Resource Center

Find tools, work sheets and tips on how to plan, prepare and succeed as a caregiver. Select a Caregiving Resource Center topic from the drop-down menu below.


Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Reading eyeglasses eyemed 6 membership benefit health

Members save 25% on orders of $200 or more and get free basic lenses at

Prescription medication spilling out of bottle

Members get a free Rx discount card from AARP® Prescription Discounts provided by Catamaran.

grocery coupon center member benefit aarp

Members can print savings coupons at the Grocery Coupon Center powered by

Caregiving walking

Caregiving can be a lonely journey, but AARP offers resources that can help.