For many American workers retirement is a happy goal. After a lifetime of hard work and due diligence it’s a chance to take a real break and return to living life on their own terms. But retirement is changing and as it changes more and more Americans have begun to push back their retirement schedules. In fact, a 2014 Gallup poll found that working Americans now expect to retire at age 66, up from age 63 in 2002, which is up again from age 60 before the year 2000*.
There are a few reasons why this is the case, and not all of those reasons are negative. With modern healthcare extending lifespans and keeping people healthier longer, there is a higher percentage of the population willing and able to work longer. Others enjoy the increased socialization and activity that a job provides, causing many to adapt to new or reduced schedules instead of leaving the market entirely. And then there are those who just don’t seem to get around to it, who genuinely like what they do and can’t imagine leaving the workforce.
Those are the positive situations, and if an individual chooses not to retire because of them, it’s really no loss. But unfortunately, for many Americans, delayed retirement isn’t an option or a luxury—it’s something they are forced into. According to a recentHarris Poll survey from the American Institute of CPAs more and more individuals at every stage of adulthood are delaying making major life steps and meeting their goals due to financial insecurity—and retirement is included**.
According to the survey 51% of Americans stalled on at least one major life decision in the last year because of financial reasons, a 20% increase from the same survey taken in 2007 immediately before the Great Recession. These steps include medical procedures, higher education, marriage, having children, and buying homes.
Retirement in particular has shown a major increase in delays. The same Harris Poll survey also found that in 2007 9% of Americans were putting it off until they had a bigger war chest and more savings on which to live. In 2015 that number has fully doubled to 18%, evidence of the major disruption that the recession caused to employment, property values, income growth, pension follow-through, and investment loss. Many of the favorite resources for retirement-minded individuals came under significant strain and as a result numerous Americans have found themselves working longer and harder to build up their retirement accounts, and/or making tough choices about the standard of living they should expect after retirement.
This major disruption to American’s lives and retirement plans isn’t going away any time soon and as customers think about their future and their retirement goals they are going to have an imminent need for quality financial products like whole life insurance with retirement and investment options or annuities which can help them save and maintain their income after their workforce participation comes to a close.