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Create a Realistic Retirement Plan

Workshop offers tools, calculators to plan for life after employment

Another tool on the AARP website is the retirement calculator. It helps users project income savings growth and predict expenses they may face later in life.

The Greenes, for example, say they are more cognizant lately about the need for long-term care plans after caring for their parents. Others may want to plan to have funds for travel, hobbies or charitable giving — whatever makes life meaningful to them.

Beth Allen, a certified financial planner in Farmington Hills, said her clients with the fewest regrets in retirement are those who brainstormed about how to mesh their dreams with realistic budgets, and how to stay healthy and productive.

"It's not just one long vacation," said Allen. "We really encourage a mental dress rehearsal. Those projects you have saved up really won't last very long — then what are you going to do?"

The "Ready for Retirement" workshop and AARP calculators also have useful tools and information for unemployed workers whose initial retirement plans were dashed by the economy's woes.

"Overall, AARP resources are enabling people to look at their retirement in an entirely different way," Seifert said.

Also of interest: How to maximize your Social Security check.

Melissa Preddy is freelance writer and editor in Plymouth, Mich.

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