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Are You Prepared for Retirement?

Ask questions, and get tips in 5 sessions

With retirement planning, Bedel said, it's always better late than never.

"Usually, the most important first step is to get [late planners] organized. And then we start looking at what they have and what they can anticipate," she said.

That can include Social Security benefits, pension income or an inheritance, she said. Late planners may have to work longer than they prefer, but planning gives them a better chance for a comfortable retirement.

Issues for unmarried couples

Indianapolis attorney Victoria Deak was fixing a snack when the phone rang last fall, inviting her to participate in the tele-town hall.

"We have lots of questions, so I stayed on the phone," she said. "At the top of my list was how retirement works with domestic partnerships."

Indiana law doesn't permit same-sex couples to marry and doesn't recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.

Deak, 49, said she and her partner, Georgette Burvee, 53, are concerned about ensuring that the surviving partner inherits their mutual assets.

Deak said the tele-town hall clarified some of the questions that she and Burvee need to ask a retirement planner. She noted that their unmarried status creates a legal minefield; the legal uncertainty affects not just same-sex couples but all unmarried couples.

In addition to attending one of the five presentations, people who see retirement on the horizon can use Money and Retirement tools at the AARP website.

The retirement calculator offers an estimate of how much additional income — if any — retirees will need based on savings, Social Security income and lifestyle. Other website tools estimate 401(k) fees and anticipated income sources.

The sessions are the evenings of May 14 in Columbus, May 17 in Mishawaka, May 21 in Terre Haute and May 23 in Fort Wayne. The May 19 session in Indianapolis is in the morning. For times and locations, visit the AARP Indiana website. All are free, but registration is required by calling 1-877-926-8300 toll-free.

Julie Creek is a writer living in Fort Wayne, Ind.

You may also like: Bill Moyers on how work may enrich your life.

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