According to financial services company HSBC, almost 20% of all Americans surveyed by them recently believe that they will never be able to retire and will keep working until the day they die. When it comes to people who are either separated or divorced, the picture is even worse. Almost 35% believe that retirement is something they will never be able to do, at least fully.
Adding to this problematic picture is the fact that nearly half of the people surveyed told HSBC that they either hadn’t been preparing adequately enough for their golden years or hadn’t done a thing. Even more telling is the fact that 50% of the people surveyed that were already retired had realized during retirement that their planning had been inadequate and that nearly 15% of them had been forced, due to financial problems, to return to the workforce.
Of course it’s well-known that there are millions of people who simply overspend and make little effort to plan on the inevitable day when they will have to stop working. It’s not the only factor that plays into this problem however, as some retirees who actually have done their retirement homework are still having financial problems because of the burden of having to take care of other family members like their aging parents, their adult children and even their grandchildren. There is also the fact that, except for the exceptionally lucky, health problems tend to crop up the older a person becomes.
One of the biggest factors affecting people’s retirement plans today has nothing to do with planning but everything to do with a major change in most workplaces; the loss of 401(k) and pension plans. 401(k)s were actually supposed to replace pension plans with adequate income during retirement but they are also being phased out from many workplaces and, even when they are still available, they simply don’t provide enough money for the average person to be able to retire with any sort of comfort.
One of the biggest drawbacks from 401(k)s, especially at smaller firms that still offer them, is the fact that the high fees that accompany them can really take a huge bite out of what might appear to be a large retirement nest egg. Indeed, experts say that in 30 years the people who are putting money into their 401(k) today at smaller firms will pay approximately $113,000 more in fees than people who work for larger firms. (That’s according to bankrate.com.)
One interesting note, and a positive note as well, is that nearly 64% of the retirees surveyed said that they wished they would have worked for a few more years before retiring. For those people who are healthy today and nearing retirement but have not made any plans to do it anytime soon, that’s a little bit of a silver lining that can be placed around this gloomy blog article.
The simple fact is that with inflation and the cost of living increasing at a very high rate and with fewer people planning their retirement well, the average age for full retirement is increasing every year due mostly to the fact that, without money, it’s exceedingly hard to get by in today’s world. Like the old saying goes, “you don’t work, you don’t eat”. A new saying that I propose goes like this; “You don’t retire, you get to keep eating”. Sad, but true.