A new survey shows that more than half of American workers plan to retire after age 65 and/or work at least part time after they retire. However, just 25 percent of people age 65 today are working, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Among those workers who plan to delay retirement, 83 percent cited financial reasons in the 18th annual Transamerica Retirement Survey released Dec. 13. The survey, aptly titled “Wishful Thinking or Within Reach: Three Generations Prepare for ‘Retirement,’” surveyed 6,372 workers of all ages.
The problem is that many Americans are not saving enough for a sound retirement, and it’s not realistic to depend on continuing to work. It can be difficult to land a job after age 50, never mind 65. In addition, unexpected health issues often make it impossible for people to continue working.
“Many workers are not saving enough to … support their vision of retirement,” said Catherine Collinson, president of the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies. “Given increases in longevity, working as long as possible is a practical solution. However, it’s unclear whether employment opportunities will be available.”
Of course, there is nothing wrong with planning to continue working if your goal is to pursue a second career or start a new business. In that case, be sure to conduct retirement planning that will yield sufficient savings for your retirement years, making income from a post-retirement job “extra.”
In addition to savings shortfalls, workers also envision continuing to work because they understand that lifespans have increased. The average survey respondent expects to live to age 90, while 14 percent believe they will hit age 100.
“Today’s workers are expecting to live long lives,” Collinson said. “Many are envisioning retirement as a new chapter in life that involves continued work but with more free time to pursue personal interests. The big question is whether their vision is wishful thinking or within their reach.”
The Transamerica survey identified several opportunities many people are missing when it comes to saving for retirement. Here are four steps that a financial planner can help you take:
Planning Ahead. Forty percent of respondents, including 25 percent of baby boomers, have not given any thought to planning for retirement.
Calculating Need. Only 7 percent of respondents had used a retirement calculator to determine how much money they will need after they retire.
Creating A Written Financial Plan. Only 16 percent of respondents have formulated and written down a retirement planning strategy, including just 12 percent of baby boomers, the lowest percentage among the three generations of baby boomers, Generation X (15 percent have a written strategy) and millennials (20 percent).
Taking Steps To Continue Working. Just 46 percent of workers report they are keeping their job skills up to date, and only 15 percent of baby boomers are studying the job market for opportunities.