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The Takeaway: Boomers Adjust to New Retirement Realities; Salt Study Questions Wisdom Of Cutting Back

Boomers Adjust to New Retirement Realities: Boomers are continuing to work past typical retirement age in great numbers, a new Associated poll finds. The percentage of boomers planning to postpone retirement longer than they originally thought- 73 percent-has risen six percent since just this past spring. Many have seen retirement savings hit hard, with 62 percent saying they've lost money on at least one of four core parts of retirement savings over the past three years: A workplace retirement account (42 percent), personal investments (41 percent), an IRA (32 percent) and real estate (29 percent). More than half (53 percent) said they don't feel confident they'll be able to afford a comfortable retirement (that means almost half think they will, however-and, hey, in this economy, isn't that something?).

AP highlights the story of  Susan Webb, a 63-year-old Iowa real estate broker who had hoped to retire at age 65:

Not anymore, not since the economic downturn that led to depressed housing prices, wild stock market swings and an unemployment rate hovering at or above 9 percent for all but two months since May 2009. Webb and her husband, who's 67, are both still working full time. They hope to ratchet back to part time at some point, but plans for a scenic lake house where they can go fishing and spend time with their two grandchildren will likely mean selling their current home - not part of the original plan.

Like Webb, 41 percent of boomers polled said they are expect to 'scale back' in retirement, with 43 percent saying they think they'll move to a smaller home. Thirty-one percent believe it goes beyond simply scaling back, and that they will struggle financially.

To Salt Or Not To Salt? Frankly, nobody knows, it seems. It was only a few weeks ago that  the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were sounding the alarm that most Americans (including most older Americans) get far too much salt in our diets, and this leads to dangerously high blood pressure. But although cutting back on salt does lower blood pressure, new research finds that it could increase other heart disease risk factors. Huh?

The study, published online this week in the  American Journal of Hypertension, reviewed data from 167 studies comparing high-sodium to low-sodium diets. While a low-salt diet did lower blood pressure in both those with normal or high blood pressure, it led to increased levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, the enzyme renin (involved in regulating blood pressure) and the hormones noradrenaline and adrenaline (which can affect blood pressure and heart rate).

"In my opinion, people should generally not worry about their salt intake," said study author Dr. Niels Graudal, of Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark.

Or maybe we should just aim for neither a high-sodium nor low-sodium diet, but take our salt in good old-fashioned moderation?

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Photo: Charlie Neibergall
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