Did you know that the trend to having a long retirement has been recent. Today, many retirees could spend 25% or more of their life in retirement. If you factor in childhood, many retirees spend less than 50% of their life in the workforce. Recent retirees have been able to do this because of the increase in the stock market and real estate helped fund their retirement along with Social Security and pension benefits. Yet, future generations may not be as fortunate. With companies terminating their pension plans in favor of 401(k) plans and with possible changes to Social Security benefits, many post-baby boomers are wondering how they can afford their retirement.
As a society we may have pushed the limits of living a long leisurely retirement. If we believe that prosperity starts with giving, than only working for 50% of one's lifetime may be pushing the limits of how little we give for a long retirement. This is why so many Americans are expecting to work at least part-time in retirement.
Yet, if one works hard, don't they have they right to retire at 65? The age 65 retirement age, has only been around for a relatively short time. At the beginning of the century, Social Security and pension plans did not exist. So the trend to a longer retirement has been a recent one. Per ElderWeb, the average retirement age has more than doubled in this century.
Note, when the average retirement age was 74, many people did not live to see their retirement because the average life expectancy was approximately 50 years, as shown below per EFMoody:
So, not only are people living to have a retirement, the number of years in retirement have also increased. Although, as mentioned above, the trend towards a longer retirement, will probably be leveling off. There are several factors that will impact how long future generations live in retirement, including:
In 1940, 50% of 70 years old worked. This number has decreased over time to closer to 20% in 1996. This can be expected to increase over time. So, if it does not look like you can retire at 65, you are probably not alone. Thus, instead of punching the clock from 9 to 5 and waiting for retirement, you may want to find a career that you enjoy and where you want to continue to work possibly into your 70s.
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