Observations on life

Half of mature workers delaying or giving up on retirement 

Is there an excuse for a 50-60 year old to not know how much income he or she needs in retirement? Excusable or not, it seems to be the reality. 

Don’t fall into the trap, it’s quite simple; just assume you will need the same income you are living on in the several years before you plan to retire. While a few expenses may decline in retirement, they will be offset (at least) by others. 

Calculate your projected Social Security benefit and the balance is what you need to generate. If you have no pension, that means income comes from investments. 

So, if you need to generate $30,000 per year in addition to expected Social Security, as a general rule you need $750,000 accumulated strictly for retirement income. 

So how much do you need to save to reasonably reach that goal? Well, assuming 6% avg annual return you would need to save $375 a month for forty years. There are calculators readily available to help you with your own calculations. 

The key is save as much as possible as soon as possible and if you need to cut back in later years you will have a pool of money working for you over a longer period of time. 

Hop to it

Half of mature workers delaying or giving up on retirement

🤑 30 percent of U.S. workers aged 60 or older don’t plan to retire until at least age 70—and possibly not then, either. 

It’s a grim picture for older workers: half either plan to postpone retirement till at least age 70, or else to forego retirement altogether.

That’s the depressing conclusion of a recent CareerBuilder survey, which finds that 30 percent of U.S. workers aged 60 or older don’t plan to retire until at least age 70—and possibly not then, either.

Another 20 percent don’t believe they will ever be able to retire.

Why? Well, money—or, rather, the lack of it—is the main reason for all these delays and postponements.

But that doesn’t mean that workers actually have a set financial goal in mind; they just have this sinking feeling that there’s not enough set aside to support them.

Thirty-four percent of survey respondents aged 60 and older say they aren’t sure how much they’ll need to save in order to retire.

And a stunning 24 percent think they’ll be able to get through retirement (and the potential for high medical expenses) on less than $500,000.

Source: Half of mature workers delaying or giving up on retirement | BenefitsPRO

And then we have this. Even With Medicare, Seniors May Need up to $350,000 to Pay Medical Bills

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7 replies »

  1. I always laugh when I see the references about working until 70 and while that sounds good when you are younger than about 55, most people today are in such poor physical shape that very few will ever be able to work that long. Just take a look at any Walmart and see all the overweight middle age folks who can barely make it from the handicap parking spot to the motorized cart they ride around the store while shopping. My wife is nearing 65 and has been working on her feet in retail for 45 years; she is healthy and thin but is quickly reaching the point where standing all day and lifting heavy objects is becoming a problem. I think most people are dreaming if they think they can work much past their early 60’s. That is a bad excuse for a lifetime of poor spending and saving habits. I was fortunate to have worked desk jobs for 40 years but I can tell you that my co-workers who continued working into their 60’s were not that productive relative to younger workers and many were nodding off about 2PM every afternoon. Modern medicine may be keeping us alive longer today but it is not making most of us less tired and worn out as we get into our senior years.

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    • Fire fighters between 40 to 50 years old are prime for having heart attacks. A lot of departments have forced retirement ages or they did (might be illegal now). When I was a paid firefighter at age 35 I changed careers knowing that I could not continue until 60 or 65. At age 40 I had another chance to basically take a very high stress desk job without the physical aspects so I did. It paid extremely well and is the reason I will retire early. The good part was it was less physical. The bad part, it was less physical. As a result I was no longer in good physical shape but a very climate controlled 72 F person. I no longer could take the heat or the cold.

      I am very lucky that I will retire at age 55 and two things weighed heavily on this decision. Costs of drugs and how much longer could I take the stress of the job. If I didn’t have a good prescription plan I couldn’t retire. Working a minimum wage job would not even cover the list price for one of my drugs. Since I am debt free there was no reason to continue the lifestyle of the added stress. I have no plans to die on the job. If I become a Walmart greeter, it will because I want the social interaction in my old age, not the stress of having to work until I die.

      I fear that many young people without pensions and who are not saving at all will have no choice but to work themselves to death. I do not want to expand social programs but make them realize that they must learn to live within their means and lower their expectations. There is no reason to own a McMansion if you don’t want to work yourself to death.

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  2. Yes, Dwayne, I agree. I agree that if any one of the life events you identified occurrs, it will knock most anyone down financially – “… $50k weddings, kids, buying that McMansion, owning that fast car, using that credit card to keep up with Jones, followed by divorce and job loss … (a) wife’s student loans and high medical costs …” And, I agree with you that American workers are woefully uninformed about retirement preparation.

    If a disaster hits, well, not much everyday people can do about that. And, similarly, things out of our control can derail our retirement hopes as well – hyper inflation like we got in the 1970’s and early 1980’s, or even today’s < 1% rate of return on fixed income investments.

    However, careful financial management may allow workers to avoid many, perhaps most of those events. And, the same careful financial management would allow most to accumulate sufficient assets, which, along with Social Security and Medicare, would allow them to continue their pre-retirement standard of living. Such an opportunity is available to any worker who was born in 1956 or later (due to IRA availability starting in 1982, following the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981): Save the IRA contribution maximum every year starting at age 25, consistently achieve a 5% rate of return, delay retirement and payout commencement until Social Security Normal Retirement Age (66, or 67 for future workers), and you'll be able to maintain your pre-retirement standard of living if you are a "rank and file" wage earner – someone earning < $60,000 a year. Those earning more need to save more.

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  3. I feel I am one of the lucky ones. Never having more than $35,000 per year to live on my entire life. I have not had a car payment since 1986. I use an antenna to get FOX, CBS, NBC ABC, CW and 5 PBS channels for free and have a $11 per month HULU membership. High speed internet and cell phone cost me $110 per month.
    I stopped working at age 50 and have lived on less than $19,000 per year USAF pension in MT.
    When I start my SS benefit next year at age 62, I will see a 60% increase in my monthly income and will have zero debt.
    I have run the numbers on waiting until later to start SS benefits and I will collect $108,000 from age 62 to 70 and would not get that back until age 76.
    I believe with my military pension I do not need to wait for the bigger SS check. My wife and I want to travel in our 60’s and the SS benefit will allow us to do that, even with saving several thousand in an emergency fund. Life insurance will provide my wife with way more income than waiting for the bigger SS check.
    Many people live in high cost of living areas and because it has been their home most of their life and they want to stay there. They will need thousands per year, to maintain their standard of living in retirement.
    But, they need to zero debt before retirement or they will not be very happy. No house payment, no car payment, no credit card debt.
    I may relocate to OK from MT to be closer to family in a few years and the SS benefit will make this possible. I like living in areas with no more than 60,000 residents. I have lived in 6 different states, vacationed in several others and there are plenty of places I could make a home.

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    • You are lucky. You did not fall for Madison Ave buy. buy. buy campaigns and being in the military probably prevented from accumulating useless stuff. Also you didn’t fall for the government pushing home ownership that you could not afford.

      Benefitjack is also right that just any financial plan would help young people but kids today do not have very many good example (parents) to follow. My relatives that retired in the 1980s & 1990s had full state pensions. Not much of an example to follow now that defined pensions are a thing of the past for most workers.

      The only example that is still timeless is save, save, save, not buy, buy, buy.

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      • Dwayne, I have never felt I needed to buy anything just because I saw it on TV. I did not buy a HDTV until Oct 2014, a 43″ model on sale for $239. Until that purchase, I watched a 27″ CRT TV that I purchased for $50, at a local pawn shop in 2003. The only reason I purchased the new TV was to get rid of my $75 cable TV bill and stream video off the internet.

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  4. I bet you the 30 somethings are even worse in not knowing what they need for retirement.

    I think there are several reasons why 50% of mature workers do not know how much they need for retirement. The first four reasons are 1) lack of personal responsibility, 2) failure of the education system to cover personal finance, 3) vote buying politicians, 4) Wall Street and Madison Avenue. Add to that, the rules have changed. Carefree pensions have gone away. In 1980 I was told to save 10% and I’ll get 8% returns and you only need 60-80% in retirement income to live but I am sure most of them didn’t bother to find that out for themselves 30-40 years ago. Add in life events such as $50k weddings, kids, buying that McMansion, owning that fast car, using that credit card to keep up with Jones, followed by divorce and job lost and there is no hope for retirement. If you used an online calculator you may be so overwhelm that you just give up.

    The sad part is the 30 year-olds that I talk to at work and even my own son realize that they have to work until they die. They have no pension and to save for 100% income replacement would take about 40-45% of their current income put aside for retirement making only about 6% in returns. My son works out of a union hall so just when he starts to bank some money, he gets laid off and then he must tap into that money. Then there is the kids and his wife’s student loans and high medical costs, so there is no money going into retirement. His plan is to get what he can out of the NJANG but it will not be enough.

    I work with somebody that both he and his wife have medical issues. There is no reason why he couldn’t retire at age 55 like me. But they made a life choice years ago that they were going to see the world while they both were physically able to travel. They fear if they waited until retirement they would regret it. He will most likely work until medically retired.

    I think young kids see retirement in the same way today. They cannot possibly save enough for retirement and since they have to work into their 70’s, they might as well enjoy life while they can and fail to even try to save for retirement. Since they don’t care they don’t know what their retirement income needs to be either. There is always talk about raising the retirement age and social security going broke, at 20 you can’t see the finish line, at 30 you are afraid that they will move the retirement age, the only thing left to do is live now and hope Bernie gets his way.

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