The case for retirement

When the recession of 2008 hit the Monadnock region, many people’s plans for retirement quickly changed. Now, more than five years later, people are still adapting to an uncertain future even as they move ahead with retirement.

One advisor’s view

Carl Johnson says many of the prospective clients he sees still have not recovered financially since 2008.

“They may not have had a good plan going in. They may have made mistakes, sold when they shouldn’t have,” says Johnson, who runs Grove Street Fiduciary, Inc. — previously Ames Planning Associates — in Peterborough. “They weren’t prepared for the recession.”

And even today, many people are reluctant to invest internationally, given the political turmoil around the world.

“They are very much prone to home bias, only investing in U.S. stocks because that’s what we know,” Johnson says. “That really works against the investor long-term.”

Johnson’s also seeing more and more people who want to retire but are still helping their adult children with loans, car payments or other financial support.

“I didn’t see that as frequently 15 years ago, and it isn’t something you can really plan for,” Johnson says.

On the positive side, Johnson says many people have drastically reduced their debt as they prepare for retirement.

“People realize they can’t go into retirement with significant debt. They are doing better at savings. They realize they can’t rely on the market to make things up.”

Johnson also says many people he sees are continuing to work in some manner even during retirement.

“Some of them have carved out a niche for work. They say, ‘I’m going to keep going.’”

One woman’s choice

Sue Shorrock didn’t keep going. She quit working “the second I turned 62.” That was a year ago, and Shorrock doesn’t regret her decision at all.

“You can live on a whole lot less than you thought you could,” says Shorrock, who lives in New Ipswich. “Your bare necessities are pretty bare. I try to decide, do I really need that? Often, I don’t.”

Shorrock had worked full-time for Helmers Publishing in Peterborough for about 12 years, but lost her job when the company downsized significantly in 2006.

“I could not find a job,” she said. “I looked everywhere. And then gas started going up, and I decided my time was something I was never going to get back.”

She managed to find some part-time jobs, but nothing really worked out permanently, so Shorrock eventually made the decision to retire. She says she’s found that she can live comfortably enough with Social Security as her main source of income.

“I just do less,” she says. “I don’t drive as much. I don’t have a computer, but the library has wonderful equipment. There are computers, books, newspapers, a wealth of information. If you’re not using your public library, you’re foolish.”

Taxes and occasional health-related expenses are Shorrock’s chief financial concerns. She’s going without health insurance at the moment, but said local hospitals have been very helpful and supportive when she had medical issues to deal with.

“I still have times when things are tight. My family has also been very generous. And I just got a raise in my Social Security. I hadn’t had a raise in years when I was working.”

Dave Anderson can be reached at 924-7172, ext. 233 or danderson@ledgertranscript.com. He’s on Twitter at @DaveAndersonMLT.

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