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What’s your ace in the hole?

By Jennie L. Phipps ·
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Posted: 1 pm ET

What's your retirement ace in the hole?

The MetLife Mature Market Institute and the Society of Actuaries did a joint study on retirement risks, surveying adults ages 45 to 80, asking them what they would do if their retirement planning failed and they needed financial assistance to get by.

Here's how people said they would cope if they run out of money in their old age.

Uncle Sam or the state: Some 32 percent say that they will turn to the government for help if their pockets are empty.

The kids: 19 percent plan to rely on their children.

Spouse or partner: 12 percent say their wife, hubby or significant other will help.

Other family members: 11 percent say brothers, sisters, cousins or some other distant relative will bail them out.

Mom and Dad: 3 percent of older people are still looking to their own parents for financial help.

Friends: 2 percent say that's what friends are for.

Get a job: Only 1 percent would go back to work.

Ex-spouses: Less than 1 percent will ask for help from this tenuous source.

Won't ask for help: Some 4 percent say they have other plans or that they won't ask for help.

Who knows: The largest number -- 37 percent -- don't know what they would do if all else failed.

John Migliaccio, director of research at the MetLife Mature Market Institute, points out that singles, even those with children, and couples in second marriages are among those who are most likely to say they'll turn to the government should financial disaster hit. "Parents don't like to think about being dependent, but if you have kids you can at least consider it," Migliaccio says.

Personally, the thought of being in a financial hole in old age gives me hives, and I'm working hard to make sure it doesn't happen.

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