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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.

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