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A Look At The Future

As retirement grows closer, have you thought about what your future will look like? The following information may help you navigate through this time.

Nashville, Ark. – “Back to the Future” was a popular movie released in the 1980’s. Can you believe that was almost 40 years ago? Time flies! As retirement grows closer have you thought about what your future will look like? There are hundreds of possibilities! If you have made some plans or you still have some years to plan, your retirement future can be what you want it to be.

            Begin your planning by determining how many years you have to retirement. If you have just begun your work career, you may think that is a long time away and “I’ll think about that tomorrow.” Again, time flies! The time to start thinking about the future and retirement is now! The longer you have to plan, the more you can customize your plan to be what you want it to be. For those with five or less years to retirement the picture details need to become more focused.

            Begin, by thinking about what you want to do in the future. This is different for everyone. Do you want to travel? Where will you live? Will you be taking care of grandchildren or elderly parents? Will you continue to work part-time or full-time? Will you volunteer? Do you want to pursue an education or just play?

            These questions will help pull the pieces of the puzzle together. If you plan to spend your days at the lake fishing, you may want to move closer to a lake or you may plan a week or two at your favorite fishing resort. There is a big difference in the cost of these two options. The same can be said for any activity you want to pursue. Will you have the funds available to pursue these dreams? What about your spouse? Do they share the same vision? It is important to write down your goals and estimate the possible cost of achieving them.

            Next, when do you plan to retire? Longevity is an important aspect of planning for the future. How long will you live? If we had a crystal ball to look into, we might find the answer. Most people will live to age 85, 90, 95 or longer! By determining when you want to retire, let’s say age 65 and you live 30 more years, how will you fund those years?

            There are several Web longevity calculators you can look at.

These calculators will ask a few simple questions based on current age and health. They give an average life expectancy projections. The Longevity Illustrator is a broader estimator because it addresses the likelihood that a person will live to various ages. It provides “odds” that a person will live to an extremely advanced age. For example, a person age 58 in average health has a 50% probability of living age 90, a 28% chance of living to age 95, and a 12% chance of living to age 100!

      What does that mean for retirement? What are your chances of running out money for retirement? Anytime our decisions involve the unknowns, we need to be prepared for some deep thinking. We need to consider a variety of possibilities, and recognize that there will be no certainty; instead, we need to think in terms of probability. We also need to be prepared to be flexible. It’s a challenge, but having good tools in place can help.

      Begin by contributing the maximum amount you can to a retirement plan. If your employer matches 5% of what you put in, then put 5% of your income into retirement. If possible, put more, especially if you only have a few years until your retirement date. The sooner you can start to invest, the more money you will have when that day comes. Remember, Social Security is just one piece of the puzzle in retirement. Do not plan to rely solely on it.

      Determine what your possible expenses will be during retirement. Begin with net worth. There is a form you can use at

      You might also check out some publications from Iowa State Extension at They have several online courses you can enroll in at no cost, plus several fact sheets available.

      For more information on financial matters, contact the Howard County Extension Office at 870-845-7517 or visit our office located on the second floor of the courthouse. You can also check out the website or either of the websites mentioned in this article.

      So, what does your retirement look like?

Recipe of the Week

            It’s July and it’s hot! A perfect way to cool off on hot summer days is to make Frozen Pudding Sandwiches. Frozen Pudding Sandwiches are like ice cream sandwiches only made with pudding. You simply stir an instant pudding mix with milk and peanut butter to make a thick, creamy filling that goes in between two graham cracker squares. Freeze them for about three hours and then they are good to go. They make a great snack or dessert on a hot day (or any day).

Frozen Pudding Sandwiches

2 cups nonfat milk

1 package (1.5 ounces) fat free, sugar free pudding mix

1 cup creamy peanut butter

50 graham cracker squares

            Stir milk, pudding mix, and peanut butter together with a whisk or fork. Stir until mixture is smooth and thick. Spoon pudding mixture onto 25 of the graham cracker squares. Top with the rest of the 25 graham cracker squares to make sandwiches. Place sandwiches on a baking sheet and put in the freezer. Freeze until firm (about 3 hours). Put sandwiches in a freezer bag or airtight container and store in the freezer. Thaw 3 to 5 minutes at room temperature before serving. Yield: 25 sandwiches.

Nutrition Facts per Serving: 130 calories, 7 g fat, 180 mg sodium, 15 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 4 g protein.

By Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
421 N. Main St, Nashville AR 71852
(870) 845-7517


The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.