Changing Trends in Retirement by Robin Trimingham

Changing Trends in Retirement by Robin Trimingham

This week I have been working on updating some retirement training materials that were first published in 2001, and I found it interesting to see what trends have significantly altered and which ones have stayed relatively the same over the last 15+ years.

The biggest difference that I noticed is that in 2000, North Americans (and particularly those preparing for retirement) viewed the future with optimism and generally felt that the introduction of self-directed contributory pensions was working in their favour. In the era before 9-11 and the subsequent global financial crisis of 2008 the idea of being able to trade your own stock account, and make employer pension plan investment decisions seemed a grand plan.

These days, however, only 18 percent workers surveyed by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) feel very confident that they have enough money for a comfortable retirement. This survey, which is conducted annually, is the longest running retirement survey of its kind. It also highlights the fact that nearly 30% of workers report that the idea of preparing for retirement makes them mentally or emotionally stressed, and that many of these people admit that dealing with this stress interferes with their job performance.

In contrast, 79% of people currently in retirement feel either somewhat or very confident that they have enough money to see them through their retirement, although 49% did concede that they had spent more on healthcare than expected.

Many of these same people also indicated that while they had thought that they would seek paid work in retirement, most of them did not actually do this. A significant number also indicated that they had departed from the workforce unexpectedly (primarily due to illness, injury, or downsizing); a poignant reminder that life is a journey that is filled with surprises and events that are beyond your control and it’s best to start planning for retirement as early as you can.

You can read the report in its entirety by clicking here.

By Robin Trimingham

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