Americans keep delaying retirement

American workers keep moving the goal line for retirement farther out.

Shifting and uncertain target dates for retirement are becoming the norm — making it harder for employees to establish meaningful financial plans, according to a recent MetLife survey.

In the last year alone, four out of ten employees have changed their predicted retirement date — with 30 percent raising their expected retirement age, according to MetLife’s 9th annual Employee Benefits Trends Study.

Fifty-nine percent of workers in the study expect to work beyond age 65. That jumped from 52 percent a year ago, MetLife said in a news release.

Also, the study said, many employees lack confidence in their ability to prepare for retirement.

Only 39 percent felt assured about managing the funds in their employer-sponsored retirement plan, the study said. And 54 percent have not calculated how much annual household income they will need in their retirement.

The MetLife research is similar to other studies that came out recently. For example, the Employee Benefit Research Institute found that if Baby Boomers and Gen Xers delay their retirement past the age of 65, many of them still will not have adequate income to cover their basic retirement expenses and uninsured health care costs.

Where are you at? Have you postponed your expected date? If so, how much will that help you?

If you’re getting close to retirement, do you need help figuring out a game plan? Is your employer assisting you?

If you’re not close to retirement, are you counting on Social Security and Medicare or not?

- Henry Unger, The Biz Beat

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72 comments Add your comment

Eric

July 18th, 2011
8:17 am

Looks like most people will work longer, with little or no chance to “retire,” but instead die on the job. Yes, the outlook is bleak, since 401k’s have dropped, employer pensions virtually gone, health insurance premiums rising. Ultimately, this country does little to protect senior citizens.

Leary

July 18th, 2011
8:27 am

The problem with delaying retirement is that it means a job slot will not open for the younger generation. I really want to retire, but do not have the confidence in the economy (or SS and my IRA’s) that there will be enough to live for another 20 or 30 years. How much is enough?

Blazerilla

July 18th, 2011
8:32 am

In additon to all of this, there are so many people out there who are unemployed for the long term and have had to deplete their savings just to survive. When (if) these folks get back to work, they will have to work longer. I have been unemployed for over a year and have not touched my retirement account but I’m not sure how long I can sustain that.

Iconoclast

July 18th, 2011
8:32 am

Retire? Looks like even with formerly nominal retirement savings, I’ll rest when I die.

George P. Burdell

July 18th, 2011
8:32 am

Two years out from traditional retirement age, I just don’t have the confidence to take a 50% cash flow reduction. Looks more like 68 for me. I do worry about us Boomers clogging up the system for younger workers trying to get to the top.

Alfred

July 18th, 2011
8:36 am

Over last 10 years this country has gone from 60mph to zero, and now even going backwards. Just a few: Skyrocketing national debt, huge trade deficit, endless wars draining our budget, high unemployment, benefits (that we do not have money for) being paid to unemployed, bleak outlook for the retirees, etc., etc. Those who brought us into it are still there. The world hates us. How sad, how sad…

Life Happens

July 18th, 2011
8:40 am

“Ultimately, this country does little to protect senior citizens.”

Most of us (should) have known for decades that the retirements years were going to be questionable. Personal responsibility has always been the key.

At 44 years old (now), I “got” that concept when I was in my 20’s and started at my first “real” job doing the right thing. My “boomer” parents warned me and I listened. Even then they told me never rely on the government to solve my problems or take care of me.

I really think it’s crazy that most act if like they never saw this coming!

Howard

July 18th, 2011
8:40 am

If you are delaying retirement past 65 please look in the mirror because that who is at fault. Odds are you have lived too extravagant a life style and did not properly plan for your own retirement. Simply saving very little at an early age or doing without in midlife you could have saved. Our government does not have enough money to give every retiree a “pension plan” I do feel the govt should provide some money but it can not be expected to provide you a life time pension plan to drive new cars, take vacations, and pay for a nice home.

At Least Kiss Me First

July 18th, 2011
8:45 am

Can’t argue with that Howard. However, the government should at least give back the Social Security taxes that have been withheld over the course of my 50 years of work and stop all further deductions – now!

stranger in a strange land

July 18th, 2011
8:48 am

I’ve now postponed my retirement till 2 years after I die

Southerngal

July 18th, 2011
8:51 am

The “stimulus” should of been used to replace “our losses” in our retirement accounts and repay those who suffered losses due to the banking industry crooks.

Yep…we are gonna work longer which will make employment for the new grads very tight.

Democratic Party

July 18th, 2011
8:53 am

The answer is to raise personal income taxes on everyone who is successful. This will solve ALL our problems.

Federal employees are not having this problem. I wonder why?

Tyler Durden

July 18th, 2011
8:55 am

What kind of work can I do when I’m 70? I know the 67 age cutoff will be bumped back by the time I retire. I fear the federal government will confiscate my 401k (and yours too) within the next ten years for the greater good of the fatherland. Can you dig ditches with a cane?

Democratic Party

July 18th, 2011
8:58 am

Don’t worry about the details. The President will take care of you.

Songbird

July 18th, 2011
9:08 am

I just retired at 57 with $2mm in investments plus about $250k in equity in my house that I plan to sell and downnsize to a condo or smaller home. I worked for a large corporation for 25+ years and always put the max allowed by law into my 401k. Fortunately for me, my company stills pays a pension and covers my healthcare until Medicare kicks in. They also provide supplemental insurance to Medicare for retirees. I know I’m very fortunate to be in this position, but I also planned well and worked hard for this.

Neil

July 18th, 2011
9:09 am

So I have to wonder…why do we seem to blame “the system” when this is mostly a product of the baby boomer, 60’s generation’s lack of preparation? I’m 46 now and hope to be prepares for retirement in the next 15 years, without any thought for Social Security and other bankrupted gov’t programs.

People complain about 401k plans, but the factual reality is that anyone who invested adequately with a 401k plan starting 30 years ago would now be in a fantastic position. The problem is that many people were not responsible, didn’t save, and ran up debt instead. In fact, even the temporary paper losses of this last recession have just about all been recouped. I don’t get all the whining

Johnson

July 18th, 2011
9:19 am

I retired when I was 44. During my working years I invested in real estate and now I own three rental properties (no mortgages) and I live off the rental income. I never saved money through a retirement account like the 401K because I was taught early in life that the 401K is the biggest sham ever created to seperate people from their money.

Mediamaid11

July 18th, 2011
9:29 am

If the majority of us are unprepared, no one will be safe. There will be chaos in the streets. Even those well prepared, like Songbird above, will be unable to leave the house. Old people with no money and young people with no jobs…doesn’t look good for any of us.

MrLiberty

July 18th, 2011
9:33 am

The Federal Reserve has single-handedly destroyed the retirements of millions of americans. They have done this in two ways:

First, by lowering the interest rates they charge banks and by making money available at 0%, they have made it so banks no longer have to “earn” our savings. Without this incentive, the rates they pay have plummetted to basically nothing. This “free money” from the Fed undermines the basic premise of interest-banking and has forced folks to participate in riskier ventures to find any growth.

Second, the chronic and non-stop printing of money is destroying the value of the dollar. It is near impossible to effectively plan for what costs might be when the value of the dollar has dropped by over 80% just since the 80’s. In fact, thanks to the Fed, the value of the dollar in 1913 (when the Federal Reserve was founded) is now less than 3 cents! When our country had money that was either gold or backed by 100% gold reserves, the purchasing power of the money actually went up. Simple, sound and basic savings of reasonable amounts used to be able to insure a secure retirement. The government gave us the worthless and beyond bankrupt Social Security system 20 years after they began the destruction of the dollar with the Federal Reserve. Now they are finally facing the reality that the beast that allowed them to print money out of thin air has allowed them to make promises they cannot keep and destroy the savings and retirement of everyone who was trying to be responsible for their own future.

As always, government is to blame. Only one presidential candidate – RON PAUL – has worked his entire career in congress trying to expose the criminal behavior of the Fed, to end the Fed, and to restore a sound currency to america so that retirement planning can be managed by everyone without fear of government destruction of the currency.

what happened

July 18th, 2011
9:35 am

I would have stayed 25 years but the company went out of business. I invested in two rental houses with mortgages, and can’t find tenants to stay in them who will pay the rent. I don’t make enough money to pay three mortgages, so I’m trying for a short sale, losing the down payment and all I spent to repair the house. I lost money in the stock market. I’m afraid to invest in a 401K because the stock market can take it all away. I wanted to retire at 44. I’m 55 and making $13 an hour. I feel like a fool and a failure. How can I turn it around?

PMC

July 18th, 2011
9:35 am

The idea of retirement is over. Retirement has become the phase of your life where you can’t take the corporate BS anymore and you quit (Retire) to move on to other work doing things you would rather do.

Even if you save you’re money and invest well, what were you going to do sit up on the porch for 40 years drinking mint juleps?

Retirement is for people who hate doing what they do, once you retire you can go seek out your passions.

Scott

July 18th, 2011
9:37 am

As our government impending bankruptcy draws closer and closer, they will look for new sources of “revenue” (read money to steal). They largest source available will be your 401K’s. You can never say you were not warned. http://sharprightturn.wordpress.com/2010/05/04/obama-administration-is-seriously-looking-at-confiscation-of-your-401k/

PMC

July 18th, 2011
9:38 am

Not only that, why don’t we just start actually taking those earned or 6 weeks of vacation (and banked vacation) instead of maybe a couple of days a year?

T Man

July 18th, 2011
9:42 am

Americans delaying retiremnt……well duh! This is news? No lie? Whoda thunk it!

BOB

July 18th, 2011
9:57 am

I never went to work. my parents are rich and take care of me. i will get all thier money when they die and should have no worries.

k-mack

July 18th, 2011
9:58 am

i retired from the postal service,3-1-11 at 56y/o but i planned this 15 years earlier saved small amount at first then as i payed off stuff like my first car i put that in the saving pot since i had got use to not having it. played the stock market bought cds my savings is good after 36 years with the p o because i not only look up the road i act in case i made to the end of the road. it is never to early to save but save what you can in two accounts,1 for everyday things and 1 for your furture.try not even look at it. payroll deduction is the best way to save. one other thing i did was to do this on my own no 401k you can do it yourself today and not worry if it will be there tomorrow happy saving retirement is goodddddddddddddd

Mike S

July 18th, 2011
10:00 am

Johnson- how is a 401K a sham?

Scott- your link does not work. How is the government going to “take” our 401K?

yuzeyurbrane

July 18th, 2011
10:01 am

SS is the primary source of income for over 60% of Seniors and a significant portion for another 30%. Age discrimination in employment is alive and well. There aren’t enough Walmart greeters jobs to go around for the Seniors who have no choice but to continue working. And now both sides are talking about pushing the age of eligibility for SS and Medicare up. These are the facts.

middleoftheroader

July 18th, 2011
10:01 am

Enter your comments here We didn’t take extravagant vacations or drive luxury cars or buy houses we couldn’t afford. We worked hard, going to college at night, for years saving and planning. Then the economy tanked, telecom job lost and industry lost, savings eaten up while job searching and now facing IRS with penalties for “early” withdrawal and no excuse that the money was needed for survival, finally landing an hourly job with no benefits at 1/4 my previous salary. There’s a lot of us out here that are dealing with this. Those of you are aren’t facing this are lucky, not special or smarter or better.

Steve C1

July 18th, 2011
10:04 am

If I want to retire and stay in the US and no longer have to work, I may have to wait until I’m 100 years old. And I’m not kidding. So I’m looking at retiring in another country like in South America or like Thailand. You can live in Chiang Mai Thailand, a nice city with a international airport, for what you’d get from social security at 62 years old. If your not at least upper middle class, you’ll probably still have to work here in the US unless you did everything right to retire and few people have. Like pay off house and have been saving since you started working.

Stanford

July 18th, 2011
10:06 am

After more than 30 years with the same company, the only thing keeping me from retiring is health insurance. I have a secure pension plan and adequate 401K savings, but I would lose my health insurance and could not afford the thousands per month for health insurance. If I could buy into Medicare before age 65, I would retire tomorrow.

The republican scheme (Ryan Plan) to add a middleman will only increase the cost of health care and make the republicans’ corporate insurance partners rich! These under-handed deals are making many of us Boomers leery of retirement.

The Social Security and Medicare guarantees we were promised for years are being threatened and attacked by the GOP T-Baggers – By The Rich For The Rich!

k-mack

July 18th, 2011
10:06 am

this do happen but that was just a plan i use

Neil

July 18th, 2011
10:21 am

Stop the I’ll informed political attacks and name calling. It seems when facts aren’t on your side, the fallback is talking points and name calling. If people want to bury their heads in the sand and wait for their gov’t check, so be it, but blaming the Republicans is a bit disingenuous.

The country is broke. We borrow 40% of what we spend and it’s getting progressively worse. Social Security was never envisioned as a retirement plan that would provide the sole income for retirement. It was to be a supplement and basic stipend at a time when the average life expectancy was much lower and the ratio of people paying to receiving was much greater.

Both parties, but particularly the Democrats have played politics with the coming mathematical problems with Social Security, and they have squandered the trust fund for 60 years. Now courageous people like Paul Ryan dare to say that the Emperor has no clothes, and he gets called all kinda of names. He could cover his eyes and ears like Obama and the Dems and pretend things are fine, but that doesn’t save Social Security. If we do nothing as the Dema would suggest, it will be broke in short order and you and I will get nothing.

Personally, I wish I could have all the money that has been taken from me for SS, and I would gladly invest it on my own and ask for nothing from the feds.

Neil

July 18th, 2011
10:22 am

Damn spell check….should be “I’ll informed”

Happily Retired

July 18th, 2011
10:23 am

I worked 30 years to the day in public safety, retired, and haven’t looked back. That was the deal when I signed on. I followed the prescribed course for success (work hard, keep your nose clean, get promoted) through the years and, ugly racial politics aside, it worked for me. I am 55 years young, in good health and have a comfortable government pension with health and life coverage to show for it. I truly appreciate the tax payers of my city for providing this for me. When you think it’s too expensive and I’m getting too much in retirement, just remember who comes to your house at 2 am to catch the bad guy breaking in to steal your stuff and rape your wife. Someone in the process of EARNING those benefits.

Neil

July 18th, 2011
10:24 am

Why does spell check not recognize the word ill…NOT I’ll

Contrarian

July 18th, 2011
10:27 am

I love when people laughingly say, “I guessed right, you’re stupid if you didn’t.” It shows just how little they grasp the reality of our collective economies. And it shows how little compassion they have for their fellow Americans. Asserting that others have “personal responsibility” is used as a crutch to relieve them of the burden of social responsibility.

Samantha

July 18th, 2011
10:47 am

I know someone who works for City government that has been working at this place for 36 years. They refuse to retire because they love the notoriety that comes with being employed in her current position. She loves for other people to pat her on her back and tell her how great she is! She was eligible for full retirement when she hit her 30 year marker. Every cent that has gone towards her pension after her 30th anniversary will be returned to general funds. That’s a shame! She is holding up at least 3 jobs for 3 other people. Do you think she cares? No she could care less. That’s so sad. :(

LHE

July 18th, 2011
10:57 am

I retired from teaching public school after 30 years and I am now teaching at a small independent school. I hope to be able to do this until I am 70 or older. I am in good health and the students keep me young. I live within my means and continue to save each month. I put a tremendous amount of effort into eating right and getting lots of excercise, most people can’t believe I’m nearing 60. American workers are going to have to get healthy if they plan to keep working!

a_mom

July 18th, 2011
11:10 am

I do worry that the government might try to nationalize retirement funds to dig their way out of this financial crisis. It’s already been done in Argentina!

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/finance/ambroseevans-pritchard/5504137/Argentina_seizes_pension_funds_to_pay_debts_Whos_next/

There have been talks about doing it here, so they’re at least considering it! Just google “confiscate retirement funds”. They’ll convince people “it’s for the greater good of the country” to pay down the national debt or to exchange the retirement monies for Gov’t Retirement Treasury funds (that they’ll get to spend until you reach retirement age. You know, like they did SS monies!). You know they’re drooling like hungry dogs at the thought of all that money sitting where they can’t touch it.

No one wants to make the really hard decisions to cut everything to bare bones for a few years and make our country solvent. Only the absolute necessities! Just fund the military, SS (but no raises), medicare. All congressmen/senators/president should take 20% pay cut to show they’re on board with the sacrifices of the average American. Yes, it would be really hard, but worth it in the long run. I think of it like this, if my house was bordering on foreclosure, I’d put my family on a beans & rice diet, cut all cable/internet/cell phones, no eating out, no new clothes, nothing except the absolute necessities for a year or two! Maybe they should put Dave Ramsey in charge of the budget. :-)

Johnson

July 18th, 2011
11:12 am

Mike S.,
All the former employees of Enron who lost their entire 401K balances in less than a week can explain how the 401K is a sham. It happened then, and it’s happening again all over our country.

REALITY

July 18th, 2011
11:25 am

I say congrats to those that are able to retire and have had it WORK OUT that way..but I find it unacceptable for those that are “scolding.” No much one can do if your company downsizes and you get terminated and have to use savings to survive, or your company files BK and you are caught up in the middle of it, unexpected illness..etc..reality is that situations happen BEYOND the control of the “worker.” I am fortunate enough that I have a solid business that I OWN, a affordable home that I plan to pay off BEFORE retirement and so on..HOWEVER..I would NEVER comment on someone less fortunate…too many good people I know suffering when they had it all PLANNED OUT!

Tim

July 18th, 2011
11:26 am

I’m on track to retire in 20 years at age 62. Right now I am saving 22% of my income and I bump that up every year when I get a raise. We live well below our means, living on just 50% of my salary (wife does not work). House will be paid off in 10 years. My investments should throw off enough income to live comfortably and I am not even factoring in Social Security. If I get SS, it will be a nice bonus to use for traveling. My wife & I will relocate to her home country where living expenses are cheaper and there is national health care.

Elaine

July 18th, 2011
11:36 am

Just like many women have redefined what “stay at home mom” means–with part time, contract, and off-the-career-path work–I think many of us will do the same in retirement. We may be able to step away from the 60 hour+ workweek stress in our mid sixties, but depending upon what happens economically between now and then, we might not be able to quit alltogether. I’m hoping before I get there, more jobs will start to be carved out for people past retirement. Jobs that at 20 hr/week could add $1000 or more a month to the household cashflow.

Factchecker

July 18th, 2011
11:44 am

Johnson,

You do know that when your company declares bankruptcy is has no effect on your 401k right?? In the case of Enron employees, the only people that lost everything were the people who invested all their money in Enron Stock. No retirement planner in his right mind would tell someone to invest everything they own in one stock.

But don’t let the truth get in the way of your conspiracy theories and scaremongering. Those are a lot more fun than looking at facts.

Bacchus

July 18th, 2011
11:48 am

I believe most of the speculation beyond our immediate future is nothing but sensationalist “journalism”, but I question the assumption that the economy will always grow, improve, etc. just like it has since the Great Depression. We’re under different circumstances and the work ethic of the Greatest Generation is dying out with them.

My parents have worked and saved hard for all of their lives and have expected nobody to help them get to where they are. I fear they feel the need to work until they aren’t physically able to do so anymore, just to maintain a decent and respectable standard of living. Part of the post-Depression mentality of work, save, etc. as long as you have the ability…

I’m a Gen-Y and expect no Social Security benefit for my own retirement and invest 20-25% of my take-home pay. I do not want to work past my 60s. If that means I need to leave the United States for Costa Rica, Thailand, New Zealand, etc. to find lower tax rates and or cheaper cost of living to achieve that goal, then I will do it.

what we do

July 18th, 2011
12:04 pm

My company forces everyone to take out a mandatory 6% for retirement. I think it’s a great idea and more companies should offer something like that. We give and they give and invest. Just so theydon’t use that money for something else!@

Contrarian Cries

July 18th, 2011
12:08 pm

“I love when people laughingly say, “I guessed right, you’re stupid if you didn’t.” It shows just how little they grasp the reality of our collective economies. And it shows how little compassion they have for their fellow Americans. Asserting that others have “personal responsibility” is used as a crutch to relieve them of the burden of social responsibility.”

NO Doubt …. Contrarian is a liberal! Take from those that work hard and did the rights things and give to those that didn’t or refused to. Entitlement is a disease in this country!

REALITY is a whiner, too!

July 18th, 2011
12:10 pm

“I say congrats to those that are able to retire and have had it WORK OUT that way..but I find it unacceptable for those that are “scolding.” No much one can do if your company downsizes and you get terminated and have to use savings to survive, or your company files BK and you are caught up in the middle of it, unexpected illness..etc..reality is that situations happen BEYOND the control of the “worker.” I am fortunate enough that I have a solid business that I OWN, a affordable home that I plan to pay off BEFORE retirement and so on..HOWEVER..I would NEVER comment on someone less fortunate…too many good people I know suffering when they had it all PLANNED OUT!”

Bless Your Heart!

Johnson

July 18th, 2011
12:37 pm

“You do know that when your company declares bankruptcy is has no effect on your 401k right??”

Many companies require employees to purchase company stock in their 401K. This is especially true of larger companies that only match 401K contributions with company stock. If the company declares benkruptcy, then the stock is worthless. So on that point, you are WRONG.

“In the case of Enron employees, the only people that lost everything were the people who invested all their money in Enron Stock.”

And that was a very large number of people because Enron required its employees to purchase a certain amount of Enron stock in their 401Ks. Enron only matched their contributions with Enron stock.

“No retirement planner in his right mind would tell someone to invest everything they own in one stock.”

The Enron employees didn’t have a choice. If they wanted to participate in the Enron-sponsored 401K, then they had to invest in the firm’s stock.

“But don’t let the truth get in the way of your conspiracy theories and scaremongering. Those are a lot more fun than looking at facts.”

Considering that the only fact you listed was WRONG?