The New Retirement: A Life of Work, Whether We Like It or Not
Lynchburg, VA- Retirement is something most of us strive for our entire lives. We plan for it, we save for it, we dream about it. But for many people, that dream is changing shape and for some, it's slipping out of reach.
Since the recession started in 2008, retirement has taken a new form. Not one of peace, security and relaxation but one of worry, stress and uncertainty.
Retirees can't solely rely on Social Security anymore, and the average worker now says that saving enough for retirement by age 65, just isn't realistic. Proving the point, there's a new kind of retirement.
"I'm 68, and I'm going to try to work until I'm 75 years old," said Larry Welch, a part-time Walmart employee.
"There's a saying, '70 is the new 55,'" said George Caylor, owner of Mass Mutual of Lynchburg.
A study done by The Transamerica Center for Retirement says 69 % of people worry about not saving enough for retirement.
"It's hard to store up enough money before age 65, to live another 30 years," said Caylor.
There's a new mindset for older workers, and it's fueled by fear of outliving their savings. George Caylor sees that fear at work every day. He's been helping people plan their retirement for nearly 30 years.
"We're living in a difficult economy, things I've never seen before," he said.
"My dad's 92 so I figure I've got another 30 years," said Dr. Steve Troxel, a financial planner. "I think people think they're putting away more than they're actually putting away, and they're living longer than they thought they were going to have to have money to live on. And, it's costing more."
Troxel is 61 years old, and plans on working as long as he can. He says he can't imagine not working, but he also can't afford not to.
"My daughter's in school and it's very expensive. We spend a whole lot less on things we used to spend money on because we're getting our daughter through school. So you know, you make the choices you have to make and you go with it," said Troxel.
Troxel is part of the majority these days. The study found that 19 % of people plan to completely quit working when they hit retirement. And more than half of people who keep working do so because they need the money or health benefits.
"I'm glad I've got something I like to do because I'm going to be working," said Troxel.
But the old notion of retiring in your 60s isn't fading just because of financial reasons. Senior citizens just can't seem to accept a life of relaxation. They're retiring the idea of retirement.
"Retirement's good but it's not everything," said Welch.
Welch will be 68 in July. He's been working part-time at Walmart as an assembler since he was 62.
"I think I can do this with my eyes closed," he said about putting bicycles together.
Welch enjoys the financial perks of his part-time job, but his main reason for working--he just can't seem to handle living life off the clock.
"I retired and stayed retired for about four months. You can't fish and hunt but so much," he said.
Welch is part of a growing trend of a graying workforce. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 1990, people ages 65 and above made up 2.7% of the workforce. By 2010 that number had grown to 4.3%. And by 2020, senior citizens are expected to hold 7.4% of America's jobs.
"It's just that people are living longer, staying healthy longer, and they can work longer," said Caylor.
So whether it's a love of the job, a lack of funds, or a need to feel productive, Americans are putting in the overtime so their time left is well spent.
"What's left, and in a lot of cases what's left is continuing to work," said Caylor.
The retirement outlook for younger generations is looking bleak these days as well. George Caylor says the best retirement advice for people in their 20s is to find something you love to do, and get someone to pay you for it. Then, retirement won't be as big of an issue. He says that way you'll retire when you take your last breath.