When friends ask me how long I intend to work, my answer comes rapid-fire: “Until I don’t want to, which at this point, is never.” Really. I can’t imagine not working: What would I do?
(And don’t say “volunteer.” I already do that—when I’m not working. I write as a volunteer for humane causes, with my derrière planted where it usually is: in the chair that worships Oh Great Computer. I do take many breaks for my health.)
I figure I’m just hitting my career stride here, going from a walk to a lope. You see, Mind Your Body allows me to synthesize my skills in one place and to feel like I’m making a difference for my amazing boomer friends. I hope so.
Plenty of company
Wells Fargo’s annual retirement study came out Tuesday, and 30 percent of Americans say they will need to work until they’re at least 80 to live comfortably in their retirement years. That is one heavy statement—the number is up from last year’s 25 percent. The survey questioned 1,000 middle-class Americans ages 25 to 75, and I’ll share key points here:
- Seventy percent of middle class Americans say they are not confident in the stock market as a place to invest for retirement.
- Three quarters (75 percent) of Americans describe their calculations for retirement to be some sort of a guess and 22 percent describe their planning efforts as detailed and based on “calculations.”
- When provided with a list of activities, middle class Americans say that in the last 12 months, they’ve spent the most time “planning” a home remodel, followed by planning a vacation. Planning for retirement fell to third place in the list of priorities. Wow.
- A little more than a third (36 percent) of Americans has a written plan for retirement, up from 30 percent in 2011. Forty-six percent of people between 50 and 59 attest to a written plan.
- Middle class Americans believe the median cost of their out-of-pocket healthcare costs in retirement will be $47,000. The Center for Retirement Research has estimated a typical couple at age 65 can expect to spend $260,000 or more over their remaining lifetime.
Also, middle class Americans say they will need a median of $300,000 to support them in retirement, but to date, have only saved $25,000 (median). That’s troubling at best.
Can’t go back
As I reflect on my financial history, I surely could have been smarter, better informed, not so trusting and not so impulsive. I’m learning every day, even if I’m a late bloomer in this genre—and several others.
A Wells Fargo spokesperson told the truth: “People tell us that retirement preparation should be on their shoulders but they are grappling with the financial pressures of each day. As a result, retirement has become a guessing game.”
These are challenging times. I’m not the only one who works every day—but I do love it. It gives me a mission, a purpose, and it gives me hope that if I keep at it, I’ll be rewarded for doing something I love, that maybe I’m kinda’ good at.
I’ve wanted that all my life, and if it takes me until 80, that’s ok, too. Meanwhile, how did my few shares of Facebook stock fare today?
(Photo courtesy: © Melissa King | Dreamstime.com)