I ran across a very interesting CareerBuilder survey recently which indicated that 53 percent of workers age 60+ are postponing retirement. Four in 10 workers (40%) said they don’t anticipate retiring until age 70 or older.
At first glance, I thought this could be very good news. Employees might feel engaged in their work and feel no need to retire. Organizations could be thrilled that workers with skills and knowledge are staying in the workforce and they aren’t facing labor shortages. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the reason that CareerBuilder cited in their survey.
The survey said that workers were postponing retirement because they were unsure about how much money they needed to retire. When asked how much money workers think they’ll need to save in order to retire, they said:
Honestly, I wasn’t very surprised by these numbers. According to the latest findings from the Federal Reserve, nearly half of Americans don’t have enough cash on hand to cover a $400 emergency. If that information is true, then it’s not surprising that people don’t know how much money they need to retire.
Even if we’re relying on Social Security (and many of us are), it’s important to start working on our financial plan for retirement. The CareerBuilder survey said that only 1 in 4 workers contribute to a 401(k) or retirement type plan. Again, how will we know what it takes to retire if we aren’t saving?
It also raises the question; how will we know when we are ready to retire? Is it when we turn a certain age OR when we have the money? More importantly, what will we do if the answer isn’t in our control. For example, what if our physical health requires us to “retire” before we have our financial plan in place?
I’m not sure that I have all the answers. But I do know these are questions that we have to start asking ourselves. How will we know when we’re ready to retire? What’s the measurement? And once you determine that, do you have a plan in place to get there?
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby in the Wynwood District of Miami, FL