Gus, it sounds like a call to social security may be in order. She may be able to collect based on your father's record. She may be able to collect SSI in addition.The previous posters comments are indeed excellent. Many retirement planning worksheets walk you through these same calculations. It is not necessary to pay a financial planner to do the basics for you--although an FP will bring lots more ideas to the table and the skills that go with it--for a price. Fooldom does have a retirement planner as do numerous other web sites. Insurance companies and others also have them. Magazine articles in sources like Money Magazine often have the same feature. Many mutual fund companies offer them as brochures or in their investors magazines. Ask around. Get your mother interested in completing one of these if you can.The Foolish recommendation in this situation does not change. It is simply invest all of the money in stocks--an S&P Index fund at least or one of the Foolish stock portfolios. You can read about these in various Foolish sources including books and other boards. The place to begin is Fool School from the link at the fool.com homepage.Because the stock market can crash from time to time, you need some provision for that. Fools believe the crash will not last more than about 3 years. Therefore, they recommend 3 to 5 yrs expenses in laddered maturity Treasuries.You will have to decide if your mother can be comfortable with this much in stocks. Fools think stock investments are needed to provide protection from inflation--since most of us expect to be retired 30 years or more.Best of luck to you. Feel free to ask again if you need clarification on any aspect.