The goal of most people’s working lives is to someday reach a point where they have financial independence. Retirement is the time in their lives where they have stored up enough money in order to live comfortably without having to earn an income. For some, they enjoy what they do so much they will not retire until they are forced to due to health reason. Others it seems the closer they get to their desired retirement age, the further away it seems to get. Whether it was due to poor planning and not saving enough, or due to unforeseen market fluctuations, many Americans are delaying retirement age.
Over the last few years there have been many people intending to retire. Unfortunately, the stock market lost nearly half of its value in 2008. This forced people, who suddenly did not have enough to retire on, to work longer. They simply had no choice when their savings, which should have covered all of their retirement expenses, was now set to only cover half their expenses. Working longer allowed their investments to recover (if they did not panic and pull everything from the market), and it allowed them a few more years of making contributions. So now, when they are able to retire, they will be able to retire on a larger income.
There are many more reasons that Americans are delaying retirement. One of the biggest is that humans in general are simply living longer. Rather than planning for 20 or 25 years of retirement life, people are now forced to account for 30 or 35 years. Not only are they living longer, but costs are increasing. Healthcare costs, historically, have increased at a greater rate than inflation. So not only are people living longer, but they are paying for healthcare for those extra years too. Add this to an increased standard of living, people need to pay for their internet, cable television, smart phone, and many more bills that were not around 15 years ago, and you have a situation where you either have a nice fat pension, or work a few more years.
For those who are considering working longer to help pay for a higher standard of living, is it worth the hassle? Generally by the time you get to retirement age you just want to call it quits and enjoy your remaining years without the hustle of city life. For many people working longer to have more stuff in retirement is not an option; they will go without rather than keep working. However, for other people, they need the money just to survive. But there are some options. A person could work part time doing something they like to do for 10 extra years instead of a full-time job for 5 extra years. One could always figure out how to use their talents and make some extra money from home during their golden years, or keep the talents they developed during their career and consult for their former company. There are many options out there, but the easiest one seems to be to simply tough it out at your job for an extra few years. If you like your job, there is no harm in sticking around.