It’s time to prepare for retirement.
Even if you think you know when you’re going to retire, chances are high that you’ll retire sooner than you think you will…ready or not.
Just like it’s smart to get the cheapest term life insurance as soon as possible, it’s also smart to get going on your retirement planning ASAP.
Need motivation? The chart above gives you some very important information. It shows that most folks retire well before they planned to.
Why do people retire prematurely?
It would be nice if people retired earlier than expected because they reached their financial goals surprisingly early. But…eh…no. That’s not the reason.
Most people leave work earlier than expected for some negative reason, and it’s usually because of a health-related issue. I don’t know about you but this is something I hadn’t even considered before, and this fact comes at an especially bad time.
As a result of the market downturn, most people plan on working a few years longer than usual. But in reality, we may be forced to exit the workforce sooner than we expect. In fact, while 77% of workers plan to retire at age 65 or later, 72% actually retire before reaching age 65.
How can you use this data?
1. Don’t panic.
It won’t help if you start worrying about this. In fact, it may make the situation worse. Stress and anxiety is a major contributor to poor health. There are plenty of action steps you can take. Rather than wasting your energy, focus on learning how much money you need to retire.
2. Create a Plan B.
It’s time to think about how you would manage financially if you have to exit the workforce sooner than expected. Amend your financial plan to deal with this contingency. Have you considered a reverse mortgage annuity? What’s your plan? If you don’t have a financial plan…now might be a good time to get one.
According to the chart above, you have a 30% chance that you’ll have to stop working by age 60, and as I said above, a 72% chance you’ll retire prior to age 65. It would be silly to ignore that. How would you deal with that if it became your reality?
3. Track your average monthly spending.
I’ve written about this extensively, but it’s even more important to track your expenses in light of this reality. Make sure you do this every month. If nothing else, you’ll know what it costs you to live so you’ll know how much income you will need when you do retire. Don’t wait to start this.
4. Stay healthy.
You might hate exercising, but if you want to reduce your financial stress and prolong your ability to work, an investment in your health is the best thing you could do. Clearly, you should consult a doctor before you begin any exercise program, but you should start investigating this subject ASAP – regardless of your age. Oh…and after you are through investigating…get going.
Will these steps guarantee that your retirement will be smooth sailing? No. But by taking the actions I outline above, you’ll be doing everything you can to make sure you can work as long as you want to. You’ll also be ready if your plans are forced to take a detour.
The financial world has shifted for many of us over the last year. That doesn’t mean we have to become victims. Plan ahead, track your monthly expenses and exercise. These are the best steps you can take to make sure life doesn’t throw you an unwelcome surprise – like early retirement.
Now…drop and give me 20!
That’s… quite scary, actually.
If anything, this means I may have to permanently readjust my thinking for financial planning. I guess it is always better to over save then under save, so no harm done 🙂
Neal, will you take this new found knowledge and apply it to your clients?
I’m doing my best to do so….yes.
That kind of sucks…
I am curious how you got the data; i.e. is it the same group of people or just natioanl avgs?
I apologize SJ. I got the data from Investor’s Business Daily and they got it from 2009 Retirement Confidence Survey. More than that, I can’t tell you.
Baker @ ManVsDebt says
Wow great take on this topic. I’ve never really thought about it in this way. Hopefully, coming to terms with some of this data will help encourage people to take retirement more serious early on.
Who honestly thinks, I’ll probably have a health condition at 54 and have to leave work? It’s certainly a real possibility though. Keep up the great work!
Baker, I never thought about this either….and that’s bad since I’m in the business! Nobody thinks about this yet if 70% PLUS have to retire sooner than they thought, it’s something we all have to take into account.