East Texans could face retirement crisis

By Donna McCollum - bio | email

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Starting in January, more than 10,000 baby boomers a day will turn 65 and that pattern will continue for 19 years.

Not quite there is Gary Robinson, who can be found behind the doors of Old Town Antiques located in downtown Nacogdoches. "We have people come here from all over the country," said Robinson as he said goodbye to a customer from Minnesota.

The antique dealer is the exception to most of his fellow baby boomers. "I was 51 when a retired," said Robinson with a satisfied smile.

The former teacher and coach has a sound retirement plan. Nevertheless, the new retiree of four years is well aware of problems facing the boomers.

"Social Security benefits are getting lower, baby boomers are living longer, the health costs are increasing," said Diana Hensley, a financial advisor.

Teacher retirement is providing Robinson more income than Social Security and he's got a good health plan. Even so, he's aware situations can change.

"Things are fine now, but when you get down the road with the health care costs, maybe inflation coming later, you just don't know how it's going to be," said Robinson. "We're enjoying it now, but maybe 20 years from now it may be a lot tighter."

Boomers who haven't saved for retirement or who retire too early for their income often face the unexpected. Hensley sees it somewhat frequently. "They're surprised, especially if they have a mortgage. They think they're going to be able to retire in 2 years and the reality sets in that there's just no way that they are going to be able to live off $100,000 and still owe money on their mortgage."

There is no magic number of how much is needed in a retirement fund, but many advisors say one million dollars is a safe amount.

Paying down a mortgage, maximizing 401K contributions and utilizing 401K catch up plans for those over 50 are all wise things to think about.

Successful retirees, like Robinson, advises to retire debt before retiring yourself.

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