Billy Graham said that his biggest surprise in life was its brevity or how quickly we go from being young to being old. He was right about that.
But too many of us don't properly prepare ourselves financially for what's coming. We don't set aside and invest enough of our paychecks during the fast passing working years in order to fully enjoy the fast approaching later years.
And by the time we wake up and acknowledge that incontrovertible fact of life, it's often too late to do much, if anything, about it. See Nearing Retirement? It's Time to Be Creative.
So the best time to internalize this 'life lesson' is early in adulthood.
Think you'll work in retirement? Think again tells the simple story that all too often ends up being a sad one for those in their 'golden years:'
"Two new studies find an increasingly worrisome disconnect between Americans’ plans to continue working in retirement and their ability to do so.
Retirees have long depended on three sources of income to pay their bills in later life: Social Security, employer retirement plans and personal savings. In recent years, though – and, in particular, in the wake of the great recession – many individuals approaching retirement say they plan to continue working in some fashion to help make ends meet.
The problem: a desire to continue working doesn’t mean that personal circumstances will cooperate or that work will be available.
A study published in May by Bankers Life Center for a Secure Retirement — “New Expectations, New Rewards: Work in Retirement for Middle-Income Boomers” — found that 72% of retired baby boomers currently aren’t working for pay in retirement. However, almost half of those retirees (48%) said they would like to work — but can’t. Of those, 35% said their health won’t allow them to work, 8% said they were unable to find a job, and 5% said they have to care for a loved one.
The study also found that many older workers — fully 69% — found themselves retiring earlier than they expected. Of those, almost eight in 10 (79%) left work for reasons largely beyond their control, including poor health (39%), being laid off (19%), or to care for a loved one (9%). . . .
Separately, a study by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, also published in May — “Retirement Throughout the Ages: Expectations and Preparations of American Workers” — found that many workers hope to ease their way into retirement. Employers, though, aren’t always on the same page.
For instance, 41% of surveyed workers, according to Transamerica, “envision transitioning into retirement by reducing hours…or by working in a different capacity that is less demanding or brings greater personal satisfaction.” The problem: Only about half of surveyed workers in their 50s and 60s said their companies allow workers to reduce their hours or shift to a less-stressful or less-demanding position.
Both studies found some bright spots. In the Bankers Life survey, more than three-quarters (78%) of retirees who are working say they are as satisfied, or more satisfied, with their job compared with their pre-retirement work. And in the Transamerica survey, most workers (77%) say that they are financially recovering, or were not affected by, the great recession, including 16% who have fully recovered, 40% who have somewhat recovered, and 21% who weren’t affected."
The message and lesson to be learned for those working is a simple and straightforward one.
We should plan and set aside sufficient monies while working to be able to live comfortably and without having to work in our later years. Our kids will be better off for our having done so.
Then if the desire to work is still there at 'retirement' time, and the opportunity to work is available, by all means keep working.
But let's not unnecessarily put ourselves in the unfortunate position of wishing that we hadn't failed to do --- set aside and invested sufficient funds during the working years --- that which we could have done when we had the time, the ability, and the opportunity to do so.
Because time flies. It really does.
That's my take.