Rethinking retirement - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Rethinking retirement


The economic downturn couldn't have come at a worse time for anyone 50 and older.

The American Association of Retired Persons says its members are facing crippling times.

People across Wisconsin watched their investments plunge even more this week. Experts fear a possible recession could be devastating to people on the verge of retirement, even causing them to put off their golden years.

"Retirement nest eggs that people have built on and relied upon their entire lives--those will dry up if there's an economic fall out," said Jim Flaherty, of AARP Wisconsin.

The risk is causing people to change their purchasing habits.

"Nobody's buying new clothes or going on vacations," said Nancy Rathke of Madison. "You can't chance it. You might not have the money."

"We're going to be cautious about spending," said David Devereaux-Weber of Madison. "We're going to be cautious about taking on any new debt. I don't know if that will be possible anyway."

Besides not getting approved for a loan, one of the biggest concerns...falling home prices. For many people, houses are their retirement plans. If they can't sell, or can't afford to hold onto their homes, experts say that could put huge financial burdens on people of all ages.

"That'll force people to rely on their families and their loved ones for housing, for food, basically to make ends meet," said Flaherty. "And that's going to be very difficult for people."

"I wish I had a crystal ball," said Rathke. "I wish we had a better idea of what was going to happen and what would be the right thing to do. Everybody's just guessing."

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