Sometimes I Feel Like a Piece of Bologna

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Will You be Able to Retire When You Want To?

According to MarketWatch, the consensus these days is that many Americans will need to work long past age 62, the age at which many people retire currently, in order to finance a retirement that is increasingly likely to last until age 90 or beyond.

But there are several reasons why that plan won't pan out for many people.

The biggest barrier may well be health. In a study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute earlier this year, 50% of the retirees surveyed said they left the workforce earlier than planned, and 54% said they left due to health problems.

Then, there are other reasons beyond our control:
  • 33% of those retirees in the EBRI study said their company downsized or closed,
  • 25% said they had to care for a spouse or other family member,
  • 22% said they left due to work-related reasons,
  • 14% said they left because of outdated skills.
Just as significant, many people simply don't like their jobs -- and the thought of tacking on another five or 10 years in the workforce is anathema.

A lucky few, though, have jobs that provide income and a sense of purpose and meaning, and they're happy to stick with them. A new survey of people ages 44 to 70 calls that type of career an "encore" career -- and finds that those lucky few may number in the millions.

An estimated 6% to 9.5% of Americans ages 44 to 70, or as many as 5.3 million to 8.4 million people, are working in what are called "encore" careers -- careers that provide not just income but also purpose and meaning. The remaining 80 million Americans ages 44 to 70 are either slaving away in careers without purpose (half of them pine for an encore career), or taking it easy, living a more traditional retirement.

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2 comment(s):

My observation is that people need to scale down early in the game and make a plan for how they will exist when their income is reduced and their bodies begin to fail. Aging in place and hoping for the best is NOT a plan and puts an unfair burden on one's children (if you're lucky enough to have children who will take on the burden of YOU) to figure out what the heck to do with parents who have stuck their heads in the sand and denied they would ever get old, sick, poor, incapacitated, and then dead. Excuse me as I vent anger, but I think it's exceedingly selfish to not figure out one's end times for one's self.

If you are foolish enough to leave these decisions for your children to make for you, please have the decency to not bitch and moan about the decisions they are FORCED to make because of your lack of planning.

By Blogger Sandy, at 5:49 AM  

Sandy, it sounds like you speak from experience! Yes, many of us are frustrated with the head in sand, or as I call it, "wishing will make it so..." I dealt with that with my step-dad, and am now dealing with it with Mom. They had a few things in place, and every one made life easier for us. For the rest, .... Hopefully we're getting jewels in our crowns. And wisdom to manage our own latter years. Hang in there, Sandy. You can do this.

By Blogger Pat, at 4:45 PM  

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