Retiring at 65? Life may have other plans
You may be planning to work until you are 65, then head south where you can spend your days on the beach or on the golf course. But life may have other plans, and you may be forced into retirement earlier than expected -- and that could send your plans into a tailspin.
A recent study by Voya Financial found that 60 percent of retired workers stopped working unexpectedly, and 33 percent left their jobs involuntarily. Of those who left involuntarily, 16 percent had to retire because of health challenges, 11 percent lost their jobs, 3 percent had to stop working because they had to care for a spouse or dependent, and another 3 percent retired involuntarily because of their age.
"One of the biggest problem for retirees, or people thinking about retiring, is that they have a vision of the future and what it's going to be, so they don't necessarily save as much because they have no plans to stop working," said Ken Kamen, president of Mercadien Asset Management. "But the reality is, you don't get to choose when you stop working in many cases, and that blows a hole in so many people's life plans and psyches."
Whether your primary employment ends for physical or mental reasons, or if your job is moved to a different location, it is fine to hope to be able to work in retirement. Counting on being able to work, however, is not a sound strategy according to Kamen.
"Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans," he said. "The reality is that no matter what your vision of the future is, in many cases, that is your idealized vision and it doesn't mean the rest of the world wants to give it to you."
All the more reason, Kamen recommends, that people have a plan A, plan B and plan C.
"I think it's important for people to look at their career as an asset class. Your ability to go out and work is something that provides income for you, and it doesn't necessarily have to be in the form of the current job that you have," he said. "Think of something you can be doing as a consultant and start trying to see if you can put some effort into building something now so if you do get outsourced, you have some other type of career path that you may be able to do on your terms, rather than someone else's terms. There are things you can do to figure out what may be a 'mini' version of your career and try to put that in place."
For people over the age of 50, it is crucial to stay informed on the latest technology and developments.
"It's important, especially for workers in their 50s, to look at their education and start thinking of what holes they may have now, so they can go and get the education they may need," Kamen said. "Whether it is with computers, programming, or something a particular industry is adopting, if you want to work in retirement, you need to be able to create a tool box of things that are different than what you have today."