“I do not plan to retire.” As I have crept ever closer to my desired retirement age, 60, I have heard that phrase more often than I would have thought.
Numerous recent studies have shown that a majority of workers are planning to work past the age of 65, many are planning to work past age 70, and some have no plans to ever retire.
In writing the book, running this blog, talking with others (friends, family and co-workers), my experience has been that there are generally three reasons people give for not planning to retire (or working well past their mid-60s, traditionally a time when people retire). They are not sure what they would do in retirement, sincerely enjoy their work/career or are not financially prepared.
This post speaks to those that might fall into one of the first two categories. I should note that this topic was touched on tangentially in SavvyPoll Number Three and Thoughts on Retirement, a guest post by long-time reader Brian. For those that are not sure what they would do in retirement, I would encourage you to start giving some thought to what you would do; and for those that enjoy working, I hope that is always the case.
However, to those in both groups, I would say the decision to work – or not work and in fact, retire – may not be up to you. Therefore, it is absolutely in your best interest to develop a retirement plan that not only considers the financial implications of being retired, but also what to ‘do’ on a daily basis.
Some sobering facts. The Retirement Confidence Survey from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) notes that a large percentage of retirees leave the workforce earlier than planned (49 percent in 2014) and many who retire earlier than they had planned often do so for negative reasons, such as a health problem or disability (61 percent).
A 2011 study conducted by the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University found that 35% workers over the age of 50 said they are not going to be able to work as long as they had expected.
Even if an individual is healthy well into their 60s and 70s, they may be the victim of layoffs, restructuring or downsizing. Other numbers from the study are equally sobering. Less than one in four workers (23%) over 50 years of age is working full-time; just under half (46%) expect to file for Social Security earlier than they wanted to; and another 18% already have done so.
The bottom line? Even if you love your job, are healthy and plan on working forever, the reality is that there are likely factors that will negatively impact your ability to do so. If your retirement plan is to work forever, I suggest you give the topic more thought. For everyone, a fully developed retirement plan is a must.