NEW YORK ( MainStreet) — Setting aside an allotted amount of money each month to put towards your golden years may seem easy. That is, until life gets in the way.

Your adult child becomes unemployed and moves back home. Your parent needs long-term care. You experience an unforeseen health issue. Suddenly, you find yourself re-evaluating your retirement savings and grasping at any available funds you can wrangle together.

According to a 2013 study by Ameriprise Financial, 90% of 1,000 people surveyed said they have experienced at least one unexpected life event or issue that negatively impacted their retirement savings.

Before your retirement savings are compromised, take a closer look at some of the most overlooked obstacles and consider these ways to avoid them.

1. A Family Member Needs Financial Help

According to a recent study by Merrill Lynch and Age Wave, 62% of people age 50 and older have provided financial assistance to family members during the last five years.

"We found that a very large number of young adults are experiencing a career stall or challenges funding their own lives and are turning to mom and dad for support," says Ken Dychtwald, Ph.D., founding president and CEO of Age Wave, a consultancy focused on aging populations.

"Surprisingly, a lot of off-the-radar generational generosity has taken place, without any expectation for pay back," Dychtwald says. "In our study, inflation rates or market swings weren't nearly as consequential as their own families' needs."

Dychtwald dubs the issue of helping family members with finances "the elephant in the room," since it is rarely discussed during retirement planning. He suggests talking about the feasibility of contributing to family members -- whether an adult child, sibling or parent -- with a financial advisor.

It's also important to keep family members in the loop about your own retirement goals and objectives. If you've been making it clear for years that you are planning to retire by age 65, for example, then it may be easier not to offer financial help if you truly can't afford to provide it.

To take this a step further, consider creating a separate "family helping hand fund" so that you can logically evaluate whether you are in a position to help out a family member without having it interfere with your retirement savings, says Dychtwald.

2. You Get Divorced Later in Life

The divorce rate for couples over the age of 50 has shot up by 700% since 1960, Dychtwald explains. Household income drops roughly 40% for women and 25% for men after a divorce.

Since about 75% of divorcees get remarried, blended families are also an increasing reality – and financial priorities in these more complex situations must be discussed from the start.