Got retirement questions? Ask ’em.

thKiplinger’s Personal Finance and the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors will co-sponsor “Jump-Start Your Retirement Plan Day,” an eight-hour online chat, on Thursday, June 5.

You can ask questions in advance or just follow along on Twitter as 20 money professionals offer their professional advice.

Free professional advice.

Now that I’ve got your attention, check out the touchy-but-necessary topics these money mavens will discuss:

  • Saving for retirement – 401(k)s, IRAs and Roth IRAs
  • Taxes and retirement – including but not limited to estate and gift taxes
  • Earning while retired – Social Security and income investing strategies, whether you’ve already stopped working or merely making plans
  • “Financial challenges” – paying down debt, investing, saving for your kids’ college

To that last I’d add “boomerangers,” i.e., kids who come back after schooling or because of personal economic downturns. About three in 10 young adults are bunking with Mom and Dad, but this isn’t always voluntary; almost 10 percent of grads between 21 and 25 are unemployed and 16.8 percent are underemployed, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

By comparison, back in 2007 those figures were just over 5 percent and 9.6 percent, respectively. Ouch.

If that’s your household, keep your eyes on the prize, i.e., what will happen when you aren’t working. According to The Wall Street Journal’s Marketwatch blog, almost 90 percent of working-age households are not saving enough for retirement.

Citing a study from the National Institute on Retirement Security, the Marketwatch article notes that householders ages 45 to 54 have set aside an average of $60,000; in the next age group, 55 to 64, they’ve saved only about $100,000.

“And with their young adult children at home, (such) parents are shelling out extra money for utilities, food and more,” spending $5,000 to $10,000 more each year on their back-to-the-nesters, the article notes.

Getting good advice

It’s no crime to be under- or unemployed. But problems arise when expectations aren’t made clear. In addition to establishing house rules, letting adult kids know what they’re expected to contribute (financially or through sweat equity) and setting a move-out timetable, we as parents must do the hard, necessary work of being realistic about what we can afford to do.

“Be honest about the fact that you’re living on a fixed income. You don’t need to give the details, but you might provide an overview of your resources and your obligations – and your financial limitations,” advises Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, author of “The Charles Schwab Guide to Finances After 50.”

I believe that the term “fixed income” applies even to some people who haven’t actually retired. If your paycheck is mostly spoken for – last few mortgage payments, beefing up retirement, paying off any consumer debt of your own – then you are living on a fixed income.

In addition, I also agree with Schwab-Pomerantz that it’s vital to protect your retirement nest egg. (Or to start one, if you haven’t already done so.) Using your money wisely now means your needs will be met as you age, but it also means you’ll be less likely to rely on your own kids for help.

How to do that, especially if you feel your check already has too many deductions? Start by checking out the “Jump-Start Your Retirement” chat, which takes place between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern on Thursday, June 5. Follow along using the #JumpStart hashtag on Twitter, because no doubt others will be asking the same kinds of questions.

You can also ask questions in advance at the Kiplinger’s website. Leave them where it says “make a comment.”

Again: It’s free advice. Take advantage.

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  1. Hilde

    donna, I was trying to ask a question at Kiplinger. but cannot see where I do that. Please help

  2. Donna Freedman

    Whoops. You’re right. Someone from Kiplinger’s is tracking down the correct link and I will provide it as soon as I receive it.
    Thanks for the heads-up.

  3. Donna Freedman

    Okay, here’s the correct link:
    Post your questions where it says “Make a comment.”
    And thanks again for the catch.

  4. Marie

    I’m bummed I missed this, but I have a question I’m hoping someone could answer. My husband works for the government and will be receiving a pension when he retires. Am I still supposed to save at least 10% of my income for retirement or can I lower that amount since we have the pension to rely on? We are starting a family and could use some extra money right now.

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