Many of us are unsure about what to expect when it comes to planning for the future. Study after study in recent years indicates that many of us aren’t sure whether we will be able to retire comfortable and “on time.” It really does seem that it’s increasingly difficult for some to feel confident about retirement.
A recent study from Allianz Life highlights the concerns that many feel about being able to meet their retirement goals. According to the survey, 84% of respondents believe it’s unrealistic to start retirement at age 65 by doing exactly what they want. Many believe they will have to work longer, or that they will have to curtail some of their expectations for retirement.
Reading this survey got me thinking about my own retirement confidence, and considering what “retirement” means to me.
Is Retirement Really About Stopping at Age 65?
First of all, you need to decide what retirement means to you before you can figure out whether or not you are confident about your retirement prospects. For many, the “traditional” idea of retirement is fading away.
When the “standard” retirement age of 65 was first popularized, few people could be expected to live much beyond that point anyway. It was expected that there would be a few years after the grind and then death happens. With longer life expectancies, and the health to do more during the final years, many find that they are likely to need as much money — or more — to fund retirement.
But what about those of us who aren’t really interested in a more “traditional” retirement? To me, retirement isn’t even desirable. I have no interest in living a life of frugality now so that I have a pile of money later. I’m much more interested in building up an adequate nest egg while enjoying myself now. The result is that I likely won’t be able to just stop writing and live off a huge portfolio at the age of 65.
However, I will likely be able to manage just fine by doing a little less writing, and by living somewhere inexpensive. I don’t intend to quit writing and earning money altogether until it becomes physically impossible. I like what I do, and I see no reason to stop because I’ve reached an arbitrary age as long as it provides income.
How Confident are You?
I also think that retirement confidence has a lot to do with how confident you feel about your current finances. If you are reasonably comfortable now and feel good about your ability to set aside some money for emergencies and the future, you are more likely to be optimistic about retirement (or whatever you decide to do instead).
An expensive lifestyle that leaves you little to set aside and little to truly enjoy right now, on the other hand, probably doesn’t lend itself to feeling very confident about the future.
Do I think the “traditional” retirement of working until your 60s and then sitting around waiting to die is unrealistic? Yes. But I’m also confident there are better things to do with the years before and after age 65 anyway.
What do you think about retirement? Where does your confidence lie?
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