percent of pre-retirees made plans to postpone
retirement last year, a new survey shows, perhaps
suggesting that work, savings and Social Security make
up the new three-legged stool of retirement.
than a third of workers ages 44 to 53 who were surveyed
listed "loss of full-time employment" among
their biggest financial concerns. And 58 percent of
people ages 34 to 53 (roughly Generation X) said they
planned to retire at 65 or later, up from the 42 percent
who said so in a similar study in 2011, according to the
recent survey, which was conducted by the Insured
Retirement Institute, a trade group representing
insurers and financial brokers.
really got a generation here that is very concerned
about their level of retirement savings," said
Frank O’Connor, IRI’s vice president of research.
"They aren’t confident about their preparations,
and the solution in their minds is that they’ll just
problem, O’Connor and myriad financial advisers
suggest, is that the ability to work longer is hardly
guaranteed. Older workers have to be healthy enough to
work, which is only partly in their control, he said,
and the work has to be there.
question is, ‘Does the workforce want you? Are your
skills up to date enough?’ Both the ability to go to
work and the ability to find employment are fairly
significant ifs," O’Connor said.
how to tip the balance toward a longer working life that
will let you cut the number of years to finance in
retirement? Try these four tips:
up. With technical innovation compressing the shelf life
of many careers, working in intergenerational teams
helps older workers stay up to speed for longer, said
Diane Schwerha, associate professor of industrial and
systems engineering at Ohio University. "In college
we learn informally from other students and when you’re
just starting out in your career you tend to have these
informal channels," she said. Try to keep those
open and active as you age, even if your workplace doesn’t
formally recognize a team-based system, she said.
ergonomics. Advocating as early as possible for
ergonomic fixes in the workplace pays off in healthier,
longer working lives for many occupations, Schwerha
said. Even small, inexpensive fixes to lighting and
chair and desk heights can make a big difference, she
said. And while it’s critical for older workers to
stay in physical shape, don’t assume it’s best to be
standing at a desk all day, she said. Stretching and
taking walking breaks throughout the day may be better
than standing all day for a worker with bad knees, for
example, she said.
for flex. Flexible work arrangements are hardly new, but
making them work in a given job still typically takes
some promotion on the worker’s part. "It’s
critical to move beyond why you need the flexibility and
focus on how it works for the employer," said Emma
Plumb, director of 1 Million for Workplace Flexibility,
a coalition of advocates for workplace flexibility.
(Check out more tips at www.workflexibility.org.)
After breaking the news recently to a woman client in
her mid-50s that her savings rate wasn’t going to get
her the retirement income she wants, financial adviser
Allison Alexander recommended the client seek out some
moonlighting income. "We take a holistic view,
documenting a client’s vision and goals. We often talk
about financial goals, but if clients have a passion or
an area of deep interest we take note of that,"
said Alexander, an adviser with Savant Capital
Management in Rockford, Ill. By moonlighting, the client
picked up not only extra income she could put away for
retirement, but also key networking contacts and new
skills that could help her extend her career if the
first job goes away. And by the time workers are well
into their 50s, some of them are in or close to an empty
nest, with fewer family responsibilities. "Even
just volunteering for another organization is a great
way to find out if that organization might provide
income in the future," she said.