Early Retirement is a Fading Dream

Americans are getting downright pessimistic about their chances of retiring at age 65. A new comparison of current and future retirees exposes some big differences in expectations between the two groups.

According to a new study from Northwestern Mutual, the average age at which current workers surveyed expect to retire is 68. Among current retirees polled, the average age they retired was just 59.

Northwestern Mutual found that, while many current workers plan to put off retirement by choice, an alarming number of them simply don’t feel they will have the finances to retire at a “traditional” retirement age.

In the survey, 45% of current workers said they planned to continue to work in retirement — not because they have to but because they want to. However, 13% said they don’t think they’ll never be able to retire.

Of those workers polled who were aged 60 or more, 38% said they would have to work until age 75 or older before they could retire.

Among those already retired, 72% say they are completely retired from working.

These findings underscore the generational shift that is taking place in retirement preparedness. Those who are nearing traditional retirement age today are simply not as well prepared financially as those who came before them.  

Whether this is due to changes in retirement savings options (pensions to 401(k)), economic changes and a declining savings rate is debatable. What is clear is that many in this country will face some tough choices as they age.


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