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Are You Prepared for Retirement?

Ask questions, and get tips in 5 sessions

Georgette Burvee, left, and Victoria Deak worry their unmarried status will be legal minefield in retirement.

Indianapolis residents Georgette Burvee, left, and Victoria Deak worry their unmarried status will be a legal minefield in retirement. Five AARP workshops will help people find answers to retirement concerns. — Photo by Matthew Gilson

As boomers hit 65, retirement is on a lot of minds. But the staff at AARP Indiana was stunned last fall when 13,244 Indiana residents took part in a telephone town hall on retirement planning.

A panel of retirement experts answered questions on topics from Social Security and personal investment to health care planning.

The huge tele-town hall turnout prompted the staff to organize a series of "Ready for Retirement" presentations in five cities this month. The sessions will feature financial planners, health care experts and representatives of the Social Security Administration.

See also: Social Security, retirement, work seminars.

Katie Moreau, AARP Indiana spokeswoman, said the programs are geared toward working people in their 50s.

Money is the first thing people think about when they consider retirement, said Elaine Bedel, president of Bedel Financial Consulting in Indianapolis and a panelist in the tele-town hall.

The answer to "How much is enough?" she said, depends on many factors: When does the individual want to retire? Do they want to work part-time or launch a new career? Does the spouse want to continue working? What Social Security benefits can they expect? Do they have retirement savings? Are there health problems?

There's no one-size-fits-all formula, she said.

For example, though people can apply for Social Security benefits at age 62, many financial planners caution against claiming benefits before reaching full retirement age because early recipients receive a lower monthly benefit for life. Full benefits are available at age 66 for people born from 1943 through 1954, gradually rising to 67 for people born in 1960 or later.

But for someone who has already retired or who has significant savings, Bedel said, applying early may be a prudent choice.

Next: Some planning is better than none. »

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