Smart Tips for Smart Women: Baby Boomers, Ready to Retire?

Those of you who are baby boomers made your entrance into the world during the 1950s.

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Those of you who are baby boomers made your entrance into the world during the 1950s. In the ’60s, you earned an education. Throughout the ’70s, you got married, and during the ’80s, you had children. By the ’90s, you were still working hard in the careers you pursued. In the beginning of the millennium - now - you will retire.

But did you save enough money to support yourself for the next 30 years during retirement? Many baby boomers did not. Surely, dentists of this age bracket were privy to necessary preparations for the future, right? Maybe. That is, if you have retained a financial planner since your days fresh out of residency. But more likely, you’ve been putting a little away each year since you could afford to, building up a modest 403(b) at a hospital or 401(k) at a private practice. You deserve praise for that effort.

Enough applause, now the reality check

Time is running out for boomers to contribute to their retirement funds. If you stopped working tomorrow, would you be financially secure to maintain your current lifestyle for the rest of your life? Retirement planning used to mean you had to reserve enough money for only 10 years. But thanks to medical technology, life expectancy has risen. Retirement funds must last two to three times as long as they once did.

Boomers are realizing they may not be able to stop working as early as planned. The options are to postpone retirement, reduce expenses during retirement, or begin a second career after retirement. But how can you find time for a new job when you’re supposed to be playing golf?

When people reach an age that grants them senior citizen discounts, they often decide it’s time to retire. But turning 55, 60, or even 65 doesn’t translate to automatic career surrender. Assuming you are healthy and active, it only makes sense to continue a fulfilling lifestyle. If being a dentist makes you happy, don’t turn in your white coat just yet.

If you want to retire someday

Even if you’re not there yet, it’s important to take action now and prepare for the future:

Plan for your financial independence. Work with a professional to determine how much longer you might need to work, how much money you should save, and how to diversify your investments so that you have a better chance of retiring when you are ready and can maintain your lifestyle.

Deal with long-term care before you actually need it. Consider applying for long-term care insurance while you are young and healthy. You are more likely to get insured, and the initial premium will be lower based on your current age and well-being.

Address sandwich-generation issues. Formulate a plan to afford college educations for your children and proper care for your parents.

Retirement should be a time for recreation and relaxation, but to enjoy it, you need to be ready mentally and financially.

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Katherine B. Paal, MBA, CFP, RFC, CTFA
Paal is a Certified Financial Planner at Heritage Financial Consultants in Lutherville, Md., and is an investment advisor representative, registered representative, and licensed insurance broker with Lincoln Financial Advisors Corporation, a registered investment advisor and broker-dealer at1300 York Road, Lutherville, MD, 21093, (410) 339-6675. You may e-mail Paal at

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