Changing Retirement Expectations

Over the past several years, many Americans have begun to question their ability to prepare for a financially secure retirement.  This awareness now begs the question, how will pre-retirees adjust their retirement expectations to match their economic realities?

The Retirement Confidence Survey (RCS) is the longest-running annual retirement survey of its kind in the United States.  It gauges the views, experiences, and attitudes of Americans regarding retirement preparation and related issues.  Results of the 2014 survey shed some light on how workers expect to adjust their retirement plans and expectations.

For example, 15 percent of respondents reported that the age at which they expect to retire has increased in the past year.  The most frequently cited reasons included 1) the poor economy, 2) an inability to afford retirement, and 3) a change in one’s employment situation.  In fact, 33 percent of respondents reported that they expect to retire after age 65, and 10 percent don’t plan to retire at all.

In addition, 74 percent of the respondents indicated that employment will provide either a major or minor source of post-retirement income.  However, the RCS has consistently found that respondents are far more likely to plan to work for pay in retirement than retirees are to have actually worked.  While 65 percent of respondents plan to engage in paid work during their retirement years, just 27 percent of retirees report having done so.

As a Financial Life Planner, helping clients to think holistically about their unique version of “retirement” is an imperative aspect of planning a financial future that will  support and enhance their life vision. (previously known as Civic Ventures) is an organization that has long recognized the growing need for individuals to work beyond the traditional retirement age.  It has also been a leader in recognizing the desire of many older adults to engage in work that provides them a sense of meaning and purpose: is building a movement to make it easier for millions of people to pursue second acts for the greater good.  We call them “encore careers” – jobs that combine personal meaning, continued income, and social impact – in the second half of life. offers a huge library of resources for older adults including the Encore Career Handbook: How to Make a Living and a Difference in the Second Half of Life by Marcia Alboher.

This book is described as a “comprehensive, nuts and bolts guide to finding passion, purpose, and a paycheck in the second half of life.”  It provides a road map for every step of the encore career journey including how to plan the transition and how to strike a balance between making a difference and making a living.   

Sources: “2014 RCS Fact Sheet #2: Changing Expectations about Retirement”;

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