The banking ads for retirement planning make our later years look like the best thing since college. We may not be able to lift ourselves out of a chair, but we will, at least, own a vineyard. Our kids never call, but we couldn’t hear them anyway while flying 2,000 ft. above the earth in a gyrocopter. And the beaches, my God, the beaches. Warm summer nights spent in Fiji with a daiquiri and a Lipitor. They don’t call them the Golden Years for nothing.
But who can afford the price of gold these days? Not many, and according to a survey conducted by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies (TCRS), 61% of Americans expect to continue working past the age of 65.
"Today’s workers recognize they need to save and self-fund a greater portion of their retirement income," said Catherine Collinson, president of TCRS. "The long-held view that retirement is a moment in time when people reach a certain age, immediately stop working, fully retire, and begin pursuing their dreams is more myth than reality."
Of the 4,550 American workers surveyed, one in five said they planned to work as long as possible, while 41% planned to only reduce their hours. Only 21% said they would stop working at 65.
The survey also found that different age groups are preparing for retirement in different ways.
Twentysomethings are considered "committed, cautious, and concerned." The survey found that millennials are concerned about how much Social Security will remain in the pot by the time they reach 65, and "thus are setting expectations accordingly." 67% of workers in their twenties are already saving for retirement.
Thirtysomethings are "strong savers but weak planners." The careers of that age group were interrupted by the Great Recession, and while most (76%) are saving, they’re not necessarily doing so wisely. According to the survey, 57% said they "'guessed' their retirement savings needs," rather than seeking advice from costly financial experts.
Fortysomethings are "financially frazzled but focused," still a bit rattled by the recession, and less confident that full retirement can provide a comfortable lifestyle. Still, 76% have been saving since the age of the 30, and median savings for that age group total $63,000.
Fiftysomethings, right on the cusp of their twilight years, have saved an estimated median of $117,000. Still, 42% expect their standard of living to decrease after retirement, and 59% plan to continue working or not retire at all.
And here’s the worst part. This hypothetical future in which we all work forever? It’s already happening. Sixtysomethings have "cast aside long-held societal notions about fully retiring at age 65," and a staggering 82% of those surveyed in that age group "expect to or are already working past age 65 – or they do not plan to retire."
Depressed? At least the survey didn’t come out on a Monday.