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retirement planning

A man puts his hand to his forehead.Wojciech Krusinski/Getty Images/iStockphoto

While it's true no one can anticipate every one of life's bumps in the road, creating a retirement plan is better than nothing when building your nest egg and saving for long-term goals.

But some plans are more carefully considered than others. Here are some obstacles that could create havoc on your future finances unless they're factored in now.

1. You've got dependents you never expected

Whether they're adult children returning home (or asking for a handout to pay off spiralling credit-card debt) or parents requiring financial help, many current retirees hadn't planned for this extra financial drain when they crafted their plan.

"When I create a financial plan for clients, we address the possibility of caring for an elderly parent and boomerang children," says Léony deGraaf Hastings, a certified financial planner with deGraaf Financial Strategies in Burlington, Ont.

2. Unexpected medical expenses

Some retirees lose their health insurance and prescription drug plans, says Robert Gignac, author of Rich is a State of Mind in Oakville, Ont.

They end up covering the cost on a fixed income. Proximity to health care is another issue planners forget to consider.

"Many Canadians want to retire to the cottage, only to find out that when medical issues arise, the specialists are located in the city," Mr. Gignac says. This adds travel expenses.

3. Big bills have to be paid

Washing machines break. Roofs leak. Cars need a new set of wheels. If someone retires at 65 and lives for another 20 years, at least one of these annoying and expensive events will pop up. "Don't forget those expenses that only come up once in a while," explains Karin Mizgala, chief executive officer of Money Coaches Canada, from Salt Spring Island, B.C.

A solution? Earmark some of your tax-free savings account (TFSA) money for life's unexpected costs.

4. Life gets more complicated than you predicted

"Nothing surprises me these days," admits Jason Abbott, a certified financial planner and founder of Inc., in Toronto. "Retirees separate and get divorced, they lose independence and require assisted care, and they experience shifts in family dynamics as roles evolve."

It may feel uncomfortable bringing up divorce with an adviser – particularly if your spouse is in the room – but it's a good idea to discuss how a marital split could affect your finances after divorce.

5. Keeping busy becomes pricey

With all that extra time on retirees' hands, it's easy to spend more than expected on expensive hobbies and entertainment.

"How do you fill the days of retirement if you have no hobbies?" Mr. Gignac asks.

"You can only play so much golf or go to so many yoga classes."