10 more retirement questions for the holidays

(MoneyWatch) It's holiday time again, and many readers will be gathering with family to celebrate. Last month, to ask your relatives at Thanksgiving, a more informative and interesting approach than hearing about Aunt Suzie and Uncle Bill's road trip to see the world's largest rocking chair.

Instead, ask your relatives how they're doing in retirement. They'll likely be glad to talk with you about themselves. And who knows? You could learn some valuable lessons that might help you prepare for your own retirement. If you're worried that they might think you're being nosy, tell them you're asking these questions so you can learn from their hard-won experience. My guess is they'll be glad to help, and it will make them feel useful.

To help break the ice, take a look atmy previous post, and then check out these 10 additional questions you could ask:

  • What's on your "bucket list"? Have you done anything lately on your list, or are planning to in the near future?
  • Have you made new friends, or do you mainly see old friends?
  • If you don't mind telling me, how do you invest your retirement savings? Why?
  • Do you use a financial advisor? If yes, that person?
  • Did you buy long-term care insurance? Why or why not?
  • Do you have a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan? If yes, why did you pick that plan?
  • If you don't mind me getting a little personal, how many prescriptions do you have? (The answer may shock you.)
  • How are you drawing down your retirement savings? Do you have a systematic method?
  • If there was one thing you'd do differently to prepare for retirement, what would that be?
  • What advice do you have for me to help me in retirement?

With these 10 questions and the 10 from Thanksgiving, you've got plenty of conversation-starters. And if you show interest and ask follow-up questions, you might keep your relatives talking for hours as well as discover ways you can improve your own retirement. Happy holidays!

  • Steve Vernon On Twitter»

    For more than 35 years, consulting actuary Steve Vernon helped large employers design and manage their retirement programs. Now he's a Research Scholar for the Stanford Center on Longevity, where he helps collect, direct, and disseminate research that will improve the financial security of seniors. He also delivers retirement planning workshops and has authored Money for Life: Turn Your IRA and 401(k) Into a Lifetime Retirement Paycheck and Recession-Proof Your Retirement Years.

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