Retiring with enough money

Book fleshes out ways to achieve security in later years

By Betsy Butler, Ohio Public Employees Retirement System

July 17, 2017 – Too many Americans nearing retirement are facing a future in which they’ll have to keep working indefinitely. Many have less than $30,000 saved for retirement; a third have nothing saved at all.

That’s a sobering thought when it’s estimated that the average middle-class person needs about $250,000 for out-of-pocket medical costs in old age. What’s more, to retire at a standard of living similar to the one enjoyed during their working lives, the average person will need eight times his or her annual salary in retirement accounts. No wonder people are worried.

Those statistics prompted economist and retirement security expert Teresa Ghilarducci to write a short, understandable retirement-planning book that offers a clear answer to this national problem. In “How to Retire With Enough Money: And How to Know What Enough Is,” she suggests what people can do as consumers, investors, savers and workers to help them feel more secure about their retirement.

Sit down with this book, and you’ll discover how you can:

  • Get a grasp on how much money you’ll need at retirement to go on living the way you did during your working years.
  • Estimate how much money you’re likely to have coming in after retirement.
  • Downsize your lifestyle now by trimming your spending and saving beyond what you need.
  • Realistically consider how long you can work before retiring.

Ghilarducci shares ways workers in their 50s and early 60s can pursue new, fulfilling careers instead of saying goodbye to paid work. For instance, older workers can increase their appeal to employers by seeking interesting, engaging educational opportunities that can help them master new technologies and techniques.

The book also helps those eligible for Social Security benefits discover the advantages of delaying receiving those full benefits until age 70.

Ghilarducci, who also authored “When I’m Sixty-Four: The Plot Against Pensions and the Plan to Save Them,” is an interesting person to follow because she’s fiercely supportive of defined benefit pensions for public workers. To keep up with her work, follow her on Twitter at @tghilarducci and visit her website.

Betsy Butler

Betsy Butler is the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System’s knowledge and issues strategist, researching information on pensions, retirement and health care. Betsy came to OPERS in 2009 after working as a special collections librarian for two OPERS employers: the Ohio History Connection and Miami University.

Betsy Butler

Knowledge & Issues Strategist

6 thoughts on “Retiring with enough money

  • July 17, 2017 at 3:45 pm

    I have not read the book but when I retired my main goal was the own a free and clear house. I put off buying new cars and lived within our means. We went out to eat once of so a month, only as a splurge. Pay an additional $50-$100 on your house payment and you’ll be surprised how quick you can pay off your loan. The costs after retirement are really reduced: less transportation costs, Lunches, work clothing, etc. Just set your goals and give a realistic view to your future. With no house/rent monthly payments, living a decent retirement can be achieved around $3000 a month and still have money for a few trips.
    It is hard when you are a working couple and had two incomes and both retire at the same time, but the cost of working is not there. Daily “out-of-pocket” expenses are gone. Cut some of you daily costs now and start getting out of debt and get some money in the bank. (Small deposits to Deffered Comp add up quicker than you think. Do it Now, don’t delay.)

  • July 19, 2017 at 1:34 pm

    I plan to read the book. I do worry about our defined pension and how long it can survive. I have always kept spreadsheets for financial purposes (savings, home/car repairs, retirement, etc). When talking about retirement and savings, we must consider a few things……1) I deposited money on a regular basis into my OPERS Additional Annuity Account for many years; however, OPERS changed the formula for the amount of money we would receive each month if we chose to annuitize the funds — it is a much lesser amount. 2) In the 90’s OPERS told me that health care would be paid for when I retired if I was employed for 10 years. As we all know, the health care policy changed. 3) OPERS also told me that retirees would receive 3% COLA — that changed too. Now, if I had a crystal ball, could have seen into the future back in the 90’s, and realized all of the changes that would occur in my defined pension plan and additional annuity plan, things would have been different. As it is, I have chosen to work longer, and even at that, I will not be able to live close to the lifestyle that I do now. As a side note, my family has always been fairly frugal, so spending exorbitant amounts of money was not and is not the issue — debt is not the issue. The issues are the OPERS changes in COLA, additional annuity funds, and health care.

    • July 20, 2017 at 3:34 pm

      Agree with Cheryl H. except for those who already retired, are disabled, or don’t have the option to work longer and have had to deal with all the changes has really been a hardship with no way to compensate.

      • August 17, 2017 at 8:13 am

        Yes, I agree. First they change the medical, now they want to come for our COLA’s! Yet a pre-published OPERS article talks about having enough retirement $$!! Am already retired, so my “having enough money” calculations had included my COLA, etc.

  • July 19, 2017 at 5:09 pm


    Does the book say anything about defined benefit plans? I retired with 30yrs. at 55 and the only concern I have is that PERS does not offer good healthcare options to those younger than 65. This is the only disadvantage I’ve come across so far. Renting can say you a lot of money and free you to travel without worrying if the grass is cut. I say retire as soon as possible and let a young person have a job.

  • August 18, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    You can plan, but the circumstances will change. First health care, no spousal coverage, a big change, now a change in COLA for retirees from 3% to CPI, another change. There will always be changes that you cannot plan for, who knows what is next. I am also a saver also but hard to keep up with all the changes that affects the core of your very existence.


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