More Americans are saying “No” to retirement and working into their 60s and beyond. It’s the “new” old age. A 2016 New York Times article reports nearly a third of adults aged 65- to 69-years old are remaining in the workforce and a fifth of 70- to 74-years old are still working. About two-thirds of these individuals have full-time jobs, defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as working at least 35 hours weekly.
This changing labor pattern is partly due to Americans’ expanding life expectancy. There are more centenarians now than ever – the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report there are 72,197 Americans aged 100 years old and older, an increase of 44 percent since 2000.
As the typical lifespan increases, so do the chances of outliving one’s money. As a result, retirees – particularly those in good health – are staying in the workforce to offset their longevity risk. However, even those reluctant to continue working may elect to stay in their jobs longer once they see the significant financial, physical, and mental benefits attributed to working.
Consider sharing the following benefits of delaying retirement with clients.
Working longer increases the likelihood of a financially stable retirement
Working longer helps clients compensate for shortfalls in savings or poorly performing investments that cannot provide the support their household needs in retirement. In an article in InvestmentNews, Jamie Hopkins and David Littell, faculty members of The American College of Financial Services, discuss how preparedness for retirement increases from 49 percent with a retirement age of 65-years old, to 85 percent with a retirement age of 70. For those whose work is no longer satisfying, spending discretionary income on enjoyable activities outside the workplace can provide the relief from stress while still allowing clients to gain the benefits of working longer, write Hopkins and Littell.
Social Security benefits increase when claims are deferred
Individuals who claim Social Security benefits at 62-years old receive substantially lower monthly payments than those who draw benefits later. Deferring Social Security benefits until the age of 70 may be possible when there’s a paycheck to cover living expenses. Claiming Social Security at 70 qualifies recipients for about 50 percent to 57 percent more income than claiming Social Security at the age of 62.
Investments and savings have more time to grow
Working longer allows clients more time to contribute to their savings, which is especially valuable for clients whose employers make matching contributions to their 401(k) accounts. Often, pre-retirees can accelerate their savings rates, once college tuition bills or home improvement projects are paid off. A few additional years of work means more time to accumulate “free” money from employer contributions to retirement accounts. The higher savings rate that is possible at this stage can very effectively set clients up for a better quality of life in retirement.
Employer-subsidized health insurance is more affordable
Since Americans under the age of 65 are not eligible for Medicare, those who retire before the age of 65 must buy health insurance in the marketplace. It’s a costly expense. More than three-quarters of retirees in their 50s and 60s spend 10 percent or more of their family income for health care. That’s more than two and a half times what those still working pay for employer coverage. Working longer allows seniors to purchase medical insurance through a subsidized group policy until eligible for Medicare. Savings can go straight into a client’s retirement investments.
Working adults have better physical and mental health
Studies show people who stay in the workforce are generally healthier and happier than those who are fully retired. The death rate from all causes for people working past the age of 65 was 11 percent lower than for those who did not work, and seniors who worked were more likely to report that they were in good, very good, or excellent health. Working also provides opportunities to learn and socialize which improves mental health and happiness. Hopkins and Littell write that many people feel better when they work, and physical and mental health decline the longer people are in retirement.
Overall, delaying retirement for just a few years can transform an average retirement income into a better one and has health and wellness benefits. Even a short delay helps a client’s retirement readiness.
The Retirement Income Certified Planner® (RICP®) can discuss how working longer impacts overall financial well being and help clients in considering this option as they build a practical and sustainable retirement plan. Advisors who earn the RICP® designation have skills and competencies to address longevity and all other aspects of building a more financially secure future. Assist clients in developing sustainable, comprehensive financial plans that provide the most fulfilling retirement by obtaining an RICP® designation.
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