Friday, March 13, 2009

How long will you be working?

Most Americans don't remember a day when there was no retirement age - official or perceived. Are we headed toward a new shift in the way we think about retirement?

The Federal Reserve announced yesterday that the net worth of American households fell by the largest amount last quarter since the Fed began tracking the statistic more than a half-century ago. For most Americans, that comes in the form of retirement accounts.

The Fed said Thursday that household net worth dropped by a record 9 percent in 2008's October-December period, compared to the previous quarter. The agency's records go back to 1951.

Drops in home values were a contributor to the loss in net worth, but the biggest dent in the family balance sheet came from stock market losses, which the Fed estimated slashed Americans' stock holdings by 23.2 percent.

Now, more of us are expecting to work longer to make up the differences.

More than 70 years ago, the U.S. Committee on Economic Security proposed age 65 as the retirement age under Social Security - although many Americans, especially farmers, kept right on working. That retirement age has crept up a couple of years as the Social Security Administration has tried to save money by delaying benefits, and those benefits might continue to diminish.

Now, more than half of Americans - 54 percent - believe they'll have to delay retirement at least one year past the age of 67, according to a survey from retirement planning consultant Sun-Life Financial, which is tracking American sentiment about retirement.

A quarter of Americans now think they'll have to work at least five years longer.

Will early or leisurely retirements become a relic - except for the most affluent among us? Tell us what you think. How long do you plan to work, and why?

Your Morning Edge:

The financial news was not as bad as analysts expected yesterday, which was enough to send markets soaring, the New York Times reports. Analysts have short-term skepticism, however.

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This includes tickets for all the Center's own engagements, including the national tours of Broadway hits.


TomBombadil said...

I am 46 and over a year ago I was hoping on retiring the 'corporate career' when I was 58 (last kid out of college). Now that my retirement savings is less than half what it once was (even though I have been contributing) - those hopes are dashed

Carolinux said...

As an IT professional primarily employed in the financial sector for the last 30 years, I would have to say:

That depends.

Are the banks going to be nationalized? If so, will I become a federal government worker.


Are all the big banks going to fail, causing the "world as we know it" to fall into anarchy?


Are the fat cats in DC going to give "the Kens" a few hundred billion to bolster up the mortgages that failed because "the Kens" sent 20,000 good programming jobs to the 3rd world?


I think I will retire now...

NOTE: *** "the Kens" would be the CEO's (or ex CEO's ) of BBT, BOFA, & WACHOVIA/1st Union/Wells Fargo***

Anonymous said...

I don't believe in retirement. Do what you love and what you are created for.

leslie said...

With the hit I've taken, I'll be at it at least till I am 66 (and 6 months!) and that all depends now on what happens to my investments in the next 15 years till I get there. I may end up working part-time when I retire. It's really disheartening, as I was on track until only recently. So much for the idea of no company funded retirement plans. Remember when "W" thought it was a great idea to "privatize" SS and let everyone put those funds into the stock market? Hmmm?

Anonymous said...

Well, I'm 47. My dad is still working. Healthcare costs for my spouse have completely wiped out all of our assets. So yes, I figure I'll be working at least another 30 years.

Anonymous said...

This is my 3rd big financial hit. The first two were unanticipated big losses in my home values (a condo then a house) and I had to sell when I moved for a better job. Now with this - I am looking at 50 in a "middle class" income with all else wacked. So much for getting the kids in a good college - it will be the best/cheapest that delivers a degree. I suspect I will work until I die or am placed in a nursing home (hope I die before that)

Anonymous said...

At my church I've had the pleasure of making friends with several of our older, "retired" members. They all give me the same advice. Never stop working. Even if/when you retire never stop. They'd watched too many friends fade away after retirement.

Personally I hope to follow in my grandfather's footsteps of working well into my 70s. "Early retirement" holds no appeal for me.

Anonymous said...

So much for getting your kids into a good college??? My parents didn't make a lot of money or have a lot in savings and I went to a good private university ($30,000 a year) and recieved a decent education. I worked in the summers to pay for some of it and I had student loans. My parents helped when they could. I left with $20,000 in debt and an engineering degree. Not the ideal situation but it worked just fine. Anyone can do it. I think you are babying your kids and making excuses for their laziness.

James said...

I have mandatory retirement by age 50 at the latest. Still hoping to put enough away to not work after that. The market is down, but will recover completely and then some as it always does.

Anonymous said...

I am 75 years old and am fully employed. I worked for the Travelers Insurance for 32 years and retired for a couple of years. I missed what I had come to love. Find some work you love to do and you will not have to work the rest of your life. It becomes part of you.
Without problem solving your mind become stagnant.You need a reason to getup in the morning and shave. Fine something to look forward to. Not just playing golf or fishing
However, you must take care of your body.Working takes care of your mind. The body loses 1% of it strength per a year after age 50. join a health club and work out after work. I feel like I am still 30 years old as I do what I did at that stage of my life. RAGTOP