By Robyn A. Friedman
City & Shore Magazine
The economy may be holding its own, but many older workers in the United States are not.
According to a survey by CareerBuilder released last year, more than half of workers aged 60+ (53 percent) said they are postponing retirement, with 57 percent of men putting retirement on hold compared to 48 percent of women. Four in 10 workers (40 percent) don’t think they’ll be able to retire until age 70 or older.
The survey was conducted online by The Harris Poll and included a representative sample of 809 full-time workers across many industries and company sizes in the U.S. private sector.
Why are workers planning to stay in the job force longer than anticipated? Many said they were unsure how much money they’d need to set aside for retirement – and some aren’t saving at all. Roughly one in four workers (23 percent) said they don’t participate in a 401(k), IRA or other retirement plan. That rate is even higher in younger adults ages 18 to 34, where 40 percent said they aren’t contributing to a retirement plan.
“Approximately 24 percent of people do not know how much they will need to save for retirement,” says Michelle Armer, chief people officer at CareerBuilder. “Women are much more likely to be unsure of how much to save than men.”
The concerns about having enough cash to retire extend to all Americans, however, and not just employees. According to the Personal Financial Planning Trends Survey released by the American Institute of CPAs in February 2019, running out of money is the top financial concern of people planning for retirement, followed by maintaining their current lifestyle and spending level.
Armer says there are alternative solutions for workers who don’t want to postpone retirement, such as downsizing your home, researching new investment platforms or taking advantage of the “gig economy,” which can help create new opportunities to make extra cash to put aside for retirement.
And, of course, it’s never too late — nor too early — to start saving for retirement. Workers should always be exploring new ways to save money to build their nest egg. The first step is to meet with a financial planner or other professional who can assess where you are and where you need to be in terms of saving. Workers should also strive to save more by increasing their investment in a 401(k) plan (and taking advantage of catch-up contributions if they’re over age 50) or to start or increase contributions to an IRA.
And, of course, cutting costs allows those approaching retirement to redeploy those savings into their retirement fund. “Take a hard look at where you’re spending money,” Armer says. “For example, re-evaluate your current cell phone and cable TV plans to see if you can lower these monthly payments without compromising the benefits you need.”