Financial Planning and Long-Term Saving Guide

5 Fixes for Money Worries

These smart, simple suggestions will help you keep calm about your finances―and stay above water.

By Lesley Alderman
Illustration of a woman chained to a dollar sign with her head above water Heads of State


The worry: I agonize about losing my health insurance.
The fix: Granted, this is a tough one, so researching your options is the best plan. If you’re healthy and young, you probably don’t need to worry―you can probably find another affordable plan. It might not offer comprehensive coverage, but it will protect you in case of a catastrophic illness. However, if you’re over 50 or have a chronic condition, like diabetes, it might be difficult to find a reasonably priced policy. To see what your options would be, check with your company’s human-resources department (if you are currently working) to find out how much the company contributes toward health insurance. (You would be responsible for that amount if you were laid off and retained your current coverage under COBRA, the federal law that allows you to maintain your health insurance for 18 months after leaving your job.) If you work for a small business with 20 or fewer workers, log on to familiesusa.org to see if your state has a “mini-COBRA” law that extends COBRA protections to you. Also, go to the insurance clearinghouse site ehealthinsurance.com to find out the general cost of a new policy. (Be sure to click on “Plan Details” for specifics; many of the cheaper plans have threadbare coverage.)
 
The worry: There’s no way I have enough to retire on.
The fix: Accepted wisdom says you will need 80 to 85 percent of your annual preretirement income during your golden years. To get a rough idea of how much you should save each year until you retire, use the “What you need to save” calculator on money.cnn.com. You might be entitled to Social Security payments when you retire, which can reduce the amount you’ll need to sock away now. (Estimate your monthly payout at ssa.gov/estimator.) Plus, if you’re eligible to receive a pension, you can count on that income, too. And gain peace of mind knowing that expenses that stress you out now, like mortgage payments and college tuition, will probably be a thing of the past. So you truly can live on less.

 

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