As times change, one core element of the American lifespan that has been in place for as long as anyone can remember may be on the way out.
Per an article over at CNN Money, there are actually four reasons why retirement may well be a stage of life you end up skipping altogether now. One is that you simply expect Social Security to be able to meet your living expenses when you stop working. But if you’re one of those who’s planning exactly that way, you may be in for a rude awakening. CNN says that while Social Security, on average, covers about 40 percent of pre-retirement expenses, most people need about 80 percent of what they were making once they stop working.
Another reason you’ll likely not retire is debt. Carrying debt is now so heavily ingrained in American culture that even seniors are lugging plenty of it around. Golden Aged folks are carrying more credit card debt than ever before, more mortgage debt, even more education debt – ugh.
Also, as Americans have gotten used to better, fewer are willing to downsize or otherwise make any significant accommodations to a smaller income when they stop working…so they don’t stop working. Makes sense, but, as an obvious result, retirement will likely remain permanently out of reach for many of these people.
And the fourth reason you may not retire, according to CNN, isn’t a bad reason at all: It’s because you love to work, and can continue to do so on your own terms. Work isn’t what it used to be for many people. There are all kinds of ways to make a living today that are the source of far less stress and hassle than so many jobs were generations ago. Now, it’s not a big deal to be able to work from home, doing what you love, and operating on a more flexible schedule. This redefinition of work has changed the very nature of work for many, so much so that growing numbers of people are now happy to stay on the job through those years that once represented little besides relaxation and leisure.
This said, if you anticipate it’s one of the first three reasons cited that will be keeping you from retirement, then perhaps there’s still time to make the necessary changes so that you have a fighting chance to hang up your work clothes, once and for all. If not, then you can hope that reason #4 ends up suiting you perfectly.
Editor At Large By Robert G. Yetman, Jr.