You Passed Your Driving Test, But Can You Pass a Retirement Test?

The Wall Street Journal recently published a thought-provoking article on preparing for retirement. Below, we've highlighted a few of the questions from the quiz, so you can see how you would fare. You may find that passing this retirement test is harder than passing your driving test. You can take the quiz yourself online at The Wall Street Journal website.

"Passing a retirement test may be more difficult than passing your driving test."
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Take This Retirement Test

1. Research by Fidelity Investments recommends that workers should aim to save what multiple of their ending annual salary at age 67 in order to meet basic income needs in retirement?

Workers need to save eight times their final annual salary if they hope to meet their basic retirement income needs, according to the Fidelity study. This estimate assumes you start saving at age 25 and live to age 92. But some estimates are even higher. The Wall Street Journal also reports that an Aon Hewitt study concluded that a person would need a nest egg of 11 times their salary to retire at age 65.

What do these numbers mean for you? If your family has an annual income of $100,000, you would need a nest egg of between $800,000 and $1,100,000 to meet your living expenses in retirement.

2. What is the average age at which current retirees say they actually retired—and what is the expected retirement age among current workers?

As you know, what people want to do and what they actually do are two different things. While many reported that they expected to retire at age 66 (up from age 60 in 1996), the average retirement age among current retirees is 61, according to a Gallup poll published in May (that's up from age 57 in 1993).

People are beginning to see the impact of The Great Recession on their savings and investments as well as facing the reality of potentially longer life expectancies and uncertainty over health care expenses. There's one advantage to working longer, however (aside from being able to save more for retirement): The Gallup poll also found that people between the ages of 60 and 69 who work enjoy better emotional health than those who stop drawing a paycheck. Bottom line: Work provides important non-economic benefits.

3. What percentage of surveyed workers say they plan to continue working for pay in later life—and what percentage of current retirees say they have worked for pay?

Again, what people say they are going to do and what they do are often two entirely different things. While nearly 70% of people say they plan to work for pay in retirement, only one quarter of retirees actually do so, according to a study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute. That's a pretty big gap between expectations and reality. Granted, those results could be partly due to surveying people at different stages of their life (I'm not sure that they asked the same people both before they retired and after they actually retired). But if I had a nickel for every time someone said, "I'll just do some consulting in retirement...."

Perception vs. Reality

There is much to be learned about retirement and big differences between perception and reality. Contact us today for an appointment to start learning more about retirement and making your retirement dreams a reality!