Retirement Planning Tough in a Weak Economy

Michelle Singletary writes in her Washington Post/Bloomberg column that people facing retirement in these precarious economic times face a blizzard of choices.

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Michelle Singletary writes in her Washington Post/Bloomberg column that people facing retirement in these rocky economic times are faced with some tough decisions.

At the beginning of the summer, at age 65, a friend was laid off from her job at a major corporation. She wisely sought the advice of a financial planner, but she's still worried about making the wrong choices.

She wanted help in reviewing her options. If she makes the wrong decision -- or panics, as many investors have done since the debt-ceiling deal was announced -- she could run out of money.

As we talked, she was struggling to answer my questions, shuffling papers and getting increasingly frustrated. She’s better off than many people forced into retirement. At least she has a pension. And yet, near the end of our conversation, she was in tears.

"I should have done more," she said, her voice quivering. "I just didn't know. I just didn't know."

She shouldn't feel guilty. She did the best she could with the information she had. If you're in the pre-retirement phase of your life or you've been pushed into retirement because of a job loss, you're going to face a blizzard of choices. And what a time to have to face them.

Read Michelle Singletary's entire column at the Washington Post/Bloomberg.

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