Retirement planning isn’t something to put off until you are actually thinking about retiring. People of all ages and at all stages of their careers should be at least thinking about retirement: the lifestyle they hope to have; how to provide for children or a spouse as they age; long-term financial goals like home ownership; and preparing for inevitable financial emergencies, from medical expenses to car repairs to sudden job loss.
With people living longer, and medical technology allowing for easier management of chronic conditions, many adult children find themselves having to care for (or coordinate care of) an aging parent. As you undergo the journey alongside a parent or elder, it is wise to consider your own future and how you would like to approach old age, retirement, and all the health and financial considerations that go along with the final stage of life.
These resources are designed to help you start thinking about these topics, initiate important conversations with your family (as a parent, spouse, or child of aging parents), and understand how to set goals and achieve them. To get started, you may want to review and bookmark this glossary of common terms and topics that come up in relation to aging, retirement, and senior living:
Table of Contents
Retirement 101: How to Save, Plan, and Financially Secure Your Retirement
How you plan and prepare for retirement changes as you age. Fortunately, there are steps you can take and decision you can make no matter how old — or young — you are. Even if you doubt your ability to start saving immediately, or are intimidated by the jargon and complexity of long-term investing, fear not: these resources will help you make sense of the world of retirement planning, and make progress on your own retirement journey regardless of your starting point.
Start with these resources if you just want to learn what retirement is, what it takes to retire, what benefits you can expect no matter how prepared you are, and how retirement might look different for you depending on your employment situation and age. From side-hustlers and novices, to seniors and savers, you’ll find all the basics covered here.
- Common Sources of Retirement Income and How To Find the Best Combination for You
- Social Security Basics: Benefits, Retirement Age, and How the System Works
- How To Start Saving for Retirement Now
- Retirement Plans for the Self-Employed: Gig Workers, Side Hustlers, and Entrepreneurs
- Retirement Taxes Explained: What You Pay When You Quit Working
- Emergency Savings and Retirement Savings: What To Do When You Lose a Job
This section is for the more ambitious saver or investor. What does “early” retirement even mean, and how can you put an early end to your working life without sacrificing comfort and security? You’ll find answers to all those questions and more below, where we outline the essential considerations for achieving early retirement.
- What Is the Retirement Age in America (and How Has It Changed?)
- Preparing for Early Retirement: Essential Tips, Tricks, and Considerations
- It’s Not Too Late: Catching Up on Retirement Savings When You’re 40 Years Old
- Early Retirement for Working Couples: Who Retires First and Other Important Considerations
Pensions can be a confusing topic for people of all ages. What are they, how do they work, and how do you get one? Below, we break down the basics, address common questions about pension plans, and explain what retirement plans exist today alongside or even in place of pension plans. You’ll learn how to take full advantage of your pension plan, what to do if you don’t have one, and how to balance pension benefits with other sources of income.
- What Is a Pension Plan?
- Pension Plans vs 401(k) Accounts: Everything You Need To Know
- Pensions vs Annuities
- Cash Balance Pension Plans
- Survivor’s Benefits and Spousal Eligibility in Retirement
- Government Pension Offset: Information About Receiving Social Security and a Pension
- States That Don’t Tax Pensions: Where To Live to Preserve Your Retirement Benefits
- Can Pensions Be Garnished?
For service members and their families, retirement can be very different. Depending on the length and type of your service, your age, whether you held a non-military job after your service, and whether you contributed to a private retirement plan, you have even more variables to consider in preparing for retirement. You can learn the basics about military below, but may also want to review our other financial resources for service members and their families.
- BRS: How the Blended Retirement System Works
- What You Should Know About Military Pay, Benefits, and Retirement
- Supplementing Your Military Benefits: How To Plan and Save For Retirement
Retirement Housing and Senior Living Matters
Your housing needs and options are constantly changing as you age. Whether you have a mobility impairment or other medical needs, are concerned about providing a parent or family member with the best living situation, or simply want to make sense of the many terms and types of housing available at all ages, this section has you covered.
- Retirement Homes and Senior Housing: Important Terms and Types of Housing
- Long-Term Care: Housing and Support for Seniors, People With Disabilities, and the Elderly
- How To Pay Off Your Mortgage Early (and Why You Should Before Retiring)
Reverse mortgages have become a controversial subject, in part because of misinformation and confusion. Though they are only available to people 65 and older, understanding reverse mortgages is important for people of all ages. This section will help you make sense of the subject, cut through the rumors and noise, and understand exactly what reverse mortgages are, who they are for, and how to determine whether they are the best option for you and your family.
- Reverse Mortgage Basics: What They Are and How They Work
- Benefits and Drawbacks of Reverse Mortgages
- How To Spot Reverse Mortgage Scams and Protect Yourself From Predatory Lenders
- Selling a House With a Reverse Mortgage
- Getting Out of a Reverse Mortgage
Working and Volunteering in Retirement
With people living longer than ever and in better health, retirement doesn’t always mean a complete end to employment and work. Whether you want a job to fight boredom and add structure to retirement, need to supplement your retirement savings, or simply want the sense of purpose and community that comes from gainful employment, you’ll find the resources you need here.
- Working After Retirement: Why People Do It, and When It Becomes Necessary
- Best Jobs for Retirees
- Job Searching and Employment Assistance for Seniors and Retirees
- Jobs and Careers for Older Workers With No Degree or Limited Work History
- Work From Home Opportunities for Seniors and Retirees
- Age Discrimination: How To Recognize It, Prevent It, and Respond To It
Estate Planning and End of Life Matters
Nobody enjoys contemplating death, but end of life planning is important to you and for your loved ones. Your spouse, your children, and many others will be glad you gave some thought to what happens when you are gone, and will especially appreciate you making your wishes known to them. From medical decisions to funeral planning, dealing with debts and managing your estate, these resources will help you become fluent in end of life planning. Here, surviving family will also find answers to questions they may never before have asked, and learn how to take care of the basics when someone has passed.
- An End of Life Planning Checklist
- End of Life Planning for Service Members and Military Families
- Estate Planning Basics: Wills, Trusts, Assets, and Other Things To Know
- How To Cancel Accounts When Someone Dies
- How To Pay for Funerals and Where To Get Help Tips for Planning an Inexpensive Funeral