Retirement Planning Challenges: Unexpected Demands on Your Money

Retirement Planning ChallengesAs you approach your retirement planning, and as you partner with your financial planner, you’ll discover a number of unexpected demands on your retirement funds. These unwelcome ‘surprises’ are simply realities of life in our modern times, but challenges nonetheless to your financial outlook in your retirement years.

Some of these retirement planning challenges include:


People are living longer, thanks to advances in medical treatments and preventive medicine, as well as a focus on healthy lifestyle physically and emotionally. As wonderful as it is that we’ve made such positive strides in healthcare and treatments, living longer can mean that you’ll outlive your savings. The idea of living longer, advancing into old age, but not having the money to live as and where you wish is frightening to most people, and thus defines one of the biggest retirement planning challenges. You’ll want to save enough, and make enough, to live better as you live longer.

Negative inheritance rate

In the past, most people could count on getting an inheritance – whether a small amount or a mighty windfall – from their parents. But this is not the past. Today, most people find themselves instead having to support their parents financially as the parents age, facing countless challenges with the money needed to help their parents live well. Parents’ homes, bills, debts, and even their pets could become a drain on your financial power, creating a stressful and potentially dangerous situation when it comes to your own financial health.


Inflation is like a slow-growing cancer, creeping up on you quietly until it reaches sizable and damaging proportions. Many of our retired clients say they can’t believe how expensive everything is, compared to prices from their working years. The growing costs of everything from dwellings to food to travel and self-care put a strain on retirement funds, even when a person lives well within their means, if not below. As inflation swells, so tightens the pressure on your finances now and especially in the future.

Healthcare costs

The costs of healthcare, including prescriptions, surgeries, therapies and wellness supplies have escalated tremendously in recent years, and will likely continue to climb at a remarkable rate. The average couple may face over $200,000 in medical costs in their retirement years, and that number could multiply if one, both or more members of your household face a medical crisis that needs special and extended care. So a challenge of financial planning is providing enough savings to prepare for unforeseen medical expenses that can be so dramatic that they threaten your lifestyle and could thus put a strain on your kids’ financial lives if you need their care. This challenge is one that keeps many people up at night, since they face big medical bills on a regular basis, feeling the pinch of doctor and hospitalization bills. The weight of these expenses are quite visible to you now that can cause even more stress about your financial planning. Do you have enough, will you have enough, to live well or unwell?

Living beyond your means

Each generation that comes up tends to live more and more beyond their means, not putting nearly enough money away for retirement to handle the challenges mentioned here, and beyond them to other particular challenges and expenses. It can be difficult to admit that you’re living beyond your means, and more difficult to adjust your spending down when needed. And it can be doubly stressful if you’re used to indulging yourself, or if your partner enjoys indulging. Lifestyle change may be in order, and increasing savings for retirement if you don’t wish to change much is quite essential.

Complex family situations

No one likes to imagine tragedy striking their family, but it’s important to face all potential challenges to your financial strength – no matter how upsetting it may be. Your adult child may get divorced and need your support. Your adult child may pass away, leaving you with a grandchild to support. Any number of heartbreaking and complex family situations may arise, significantly impacting your financial situation.

Talk with your financial planner about your current family situations, sharing how many children you have, how many grandchildren, which challenges you typically face with your kids. While you might think it best to keep quiet about an adult child’s bad habits and shaky marital situation, your financial planner is not there to judge you. You’re being wise in your own well-being, and that of your partner, when you share potential risks to your family’s structure and your own responsibilities, so that you can prepare financially for whatever may occur.

Even without a tragedy, you may be among the many people approaching retirement age whose grown kids depend on them for financial help, whether it is to buy a new house, a car, to invest in their new business, to help them get through periods of unemployment or underemployment. Your adult child’s struggles can impact you on so many levels including financially and emotionally, and relationships can strain under the weight of financial needs and resentments. That said, it’s smart to face the challenge: what if my adult child asks me for money? With retirement planning approached with this question in mind, you may be able to help more comfortably, not hurting your own retirement cushion in the process.

Facing these Retirement Planning Challenges

It may be scary to face the realities of challenges to your retirement funds, but it’s far scarier to walk into an unexplored future without having prepared for the inevitable and unexpected challenges ahead.

Here is a helpful podcast sharing more about the challenges to retirement planning, giving you a look at what keeps a financial planner up at night when it comes to those unforeseen and ever-present realities that can shake your financial future: