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Can I Retire Question Puzzles Workers

Can I Retire

Can I Retire Question Puzzles Workers

Can I Retire is the question many workers are asking.  As workers age, the question becomes more pointed. Can I retire when I reach age 65?  Can I retire at 70? Or more likely, can I retire ever?  Most American workers struggle with answering these questions. Most employees are not sure how to answer the question, will I have enough money to retire? In fact, most are not confident that they are adequately preparing. They simply do not really know how much they need to live well in their post-work years.

Despite their concern in answering the question, When can I retire, Americans have lofty goals for those retirement years.  Many envision retirement as the most liberating time in their lives, according to CNBC reporting on a TD Ameritrade survey. The financial services giant polled 2,002 adults in July about their perceptions of aging and retirement. Eighty-one percent of respondents said their elder years are a prime time to pursue new goals, while 76% said they plan to use those years to pursue passions they neglected during their earning years.  This includes spending time with friends and family, traveling abroad or taking up a hobby.

Many Americans aren’t sure how to align their dreams with their retirement savings.  Slightly more than half (51%) of those surveyed by TD Ameritrade answered, Will I have enough to retire question, in the negative.  Indicating, they do not think they’ll have adequate savings to pay for their needs. A full 60% don’t know how much they’ll need to save to sustain their lifestyle after age 65.

Social Security and healthcare costs are a chief concern among those responding to the question, Will I have enough to retire? TD Ameritrade found that that 72% of those surveyed do not believe Social Security will support their financial needs in retirement. Most said they were more concerned with funding their health-care costs than dying.  Their Primary concern, keeping them up at night was declining health — specifically the loss of mental and physical abilities.

Plan sponsors can help employees to answer such questions as: Can I retire? And, When can I retire? For starters, employees need to get clear on their financial plan for retirement, they need to reasonably estimate how long their savings will last.  Then determine whether they’ll outlive the savings.  Annual retirement income projections can help workers have a sense for whether they are on track to sustain their lifestyle in retirement and be in the position to course correct as needed. Of course, the earlier an individual evaluates and adjusts their financial plan vis a vis their savings, the better. However, even pre-retirees have opportunities to bulk up their retirement nest egg through catch-up contributions. This can be accomplished via their workplace qualified savings plan. Since the 10 to 15 years leading up to retirement typically are an individual’s prime earnings years, that may be the period where most contributions are likely to occur.

A critical exercise for employees is in determining retirement lifestyle wants vs. needs. In the CNBC article, for example, one expert recommends using “lifetime income” sources such as Social Security, pensions, or annuities to cover recurring expenses, and tapping retirement savings for “other expenses.” On that note, it’s also important to remind employees that retirement is often accompanied by a radical shift in mindset. In other words, it’s less about growing and saving one’s money, and more about asset protection, income creation and planning for the unexpected.

Many workers still want to know, will I have enough money to retire?    However, by undertaking a financial planning exercise and conducting a need vs. wants an assessment, they can work toward formulating a more accurate response to that question. This enables them, to adjust their savings as needed to reach their goals. Once their savings are on track, they can look forward to spending their post-working years doing what they love, instead of struggling with, can I retire?

Steff Chalk

Steff Chalk

Managing Editor at 401kTV
Steff C. Chalk is Executive Director of The Retirement Advisor University, a collaboration with UCLA Anderson School of Management Executive Education. Steff also serves as Executive Director of The Plan Sponsor University and is current faculty of The Retirement Adviser University.
Steff Chalk
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