#retirement #SocialSecurity #employment
It’s been said many times, in many ways: many of us don’t see how we can retire.
Perhaps we haven’t been able to save enough. Perhaps we won’t be getting the pension we were promised. Perhaps we believe Social Security will be tapped out before we can tap in. Or, perhaps we’ve been put to the curb by our employers at middle age, can’t find a comparable job and have to “retire” before we want to.
Robert Powell, editor of Retirement Weekly, discussed some of these issues in a USA Today column, published June 1, 2015.
Powell talks about postponing retirement until age 70. That’s fine, if you like your job and are able to do it. Bob Schieffer, the longtime newsman with CBS, had recently retired at age 78. But, most employers won’t exercise that much patience. Once an employee hits middle age, he or she usually begins to get messages about “early retirement.” For many employers, a middle-age worker, particularly one who has been with the company a good number of years, is taking a lot out of the company in salary and benefits. If that position is vital to the company, then it can be more economically filled with a younger, less senior person, who may bring some new energy to the company.
Now, if you are able to extend your employment, there are great benefits to waiting until age 70 to collect Social Security. Powell says your benefits could go up by 76 percent by waiting. Basically, delaying Social Security should be a no-brainer for anyone who doesn’t need the money in retirement. It’s a whole different matter if you NEED the Social Security money to survive.
Powell also talks about the longevity risk. Will you outlive your money? One way to avoid the longevity risk, assuming you’ve been able to save some money, is to only tap the dividends, interest and other earnings your money generates, without dipping into your principal. Certainly, people are living longer and the longevity risk is real. If you are already middle age, your parents and grandparents would envy the longer average lifespan you now have. If you are young, presume your average lifespan will increase further. Start saving whatever you can TODAY, and don’t touch it until you retire.
Again, this is easier said than done when you don’t earn enough at your job, your employer doesn’t offer retirement benefits of any sort etc. Take this hint: live within or below your means. If you aren’t making much, look at what you spend your money on. Buy what you can afford, when you can afford it.
If you are married, postpone having children until you are financially ready to care for them. If you are single, look to share a household with friends to lighten individual expenses.
Powell also talks about home equity. There are some famous people out there touting reverse mortgages, which are a fine solution for the property-rich, cash-poor retiree. Perhaps it’s best to consider this option a last resort. Some of the ads say you retain “complete ownership” of your home as you draw cash from the equity. Your name is on the deed still, you are responsible for all the maintenance of the home, but the lender owns whatever chunk of equity it has turned into cash for you. If that doesn’t matter to you, then check out the reverse mortgage option as a last resort.
One thing Powell doesn’t mention is the idea of re-inventing oneself. If necessity is the mother of invention, then retirement, for some, is the mother of re-invention. There are multiple ways out there to make an income, perhaps even a great income, without having a job, pension or other source of funds. For one of the best, visit You have to be willing, perhaps, to re-invent yourself. Or, you have to be looking for a way to cut spending and earn more money. But a retirement solution could be waiting for you, if you are willing to look at it.
The retirement picture doesn’t have to be gloomy, particularly if you are young. But it does take some thought, perhaps some habit changes or courage to re-invent. It’s OK to be afraid, but sometimes we have take action while afraid. That action, gradually or quickly, can ally our fear.