Is 'Never' Your Planned Retirement Date?

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — One in eight Americans never plan to retire, while another one in four plan to work as long as possible, according to a recent study from the Federal Reserve. All told, 38% of non-retired people either don’t plan to retire or will work as long as they can, and 45% expect to work in some fashion after retirement. These findings indicate a blunt truth that's hard to swallow: nearly half of non-retired don’t see retirement as a traditional end to working life.

The Fed’s 2014 Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking, which surveyed 5,800 people in the fall of 2014, also showed that 39% of pre-retirement people have given little or no thought to financial planning for retirement, while 31% have no retirement savings or pension. While those findings suggest people’s ideas for funding retirement may be unrealistic, so do the results about people’s plans to work essentially forever.

But it’s really not unfeasible or even unusual to work post-retirement, according to Leon LaBrecque, a certified financial planner in Troy, Mich. who sees many of his retiree clients continue to work. Some of these post-retirement workers labor because they love their jobs, he says. Others just want to stay busy.

“To them and me, retirement is state of mind, and not a state of employment,” LaBrecque says.

Census Bureau figures support his view. In 2005, the Census found about 15% of people past retirement age were still in the labor force in some capacity. A 2008 Census report suggested people worked beyond retirement-age for several reasons, including the high cost of health insurance, declining employer-sponsored retiree health benefits, longer life spans, fewer defined-benefit pension plans and a desire to stay active and boost their emotional well-being and physical health. Work also promotes social integration and social support, the Census report noted.

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