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Retire? Why?

Practice Management

Retirement? Never mind, say some. A recent study and blog entry point out that there are individuals — and professionals too, for that matter — who are throwing up their hands and arguing that one should stay nose to the grindstone.

According to AP-NORC, 45% of the adult Americans they polled in February 2019 said that they are not very prepared for retirement or not prepared at all. And more than half of those age 18-49 — 56% — held that view. More sobering, almost one-quarter — 23% — and nearly 20% of those age 50 or older say that they expect that they won’t be able to retire at all.

Not everyone thinks that staying in the workforce is a bad thing. AP-NORC reports that 39% of Americans think that it is “mostly a good thing” for people to stay in the workforce longer, and 45% think it is good for the U.S. economy. Further, they say that nearly three times as many Americans age 50 and older think that working longer is a good thing rather than bad thing for their careers — 42% vs. 15%. And AP-NORC is not alone in that finding, according to Ann Marsh in Financial Planning’s “Why Retire? 10 Reasons Clients Should Keep Working.” She writes that of retirement, “Many planners have found that some clients — often among the very active baby boomer generation — aren't having it.”

There are professionals who espouse staying in the workforce, Marsh writes. They cite a variety of reasons for that, she says. Among the financial reasons:

  • family needs;
  • the need to retain health insurance;
  • fear of the effects of losing a spouse and the spouse’s income; and
  • failure of business owners to put a succession plan in place.

But there are less tangible reasons as well, according to Marsh, such as:

  • the need for a sense of purpose;
  • the need to be productive;
  • the need to be needed;
  • the desire to accomplish significant work.

But reluctance to retire is far from universal, or even widespread, according to AP-NORC. They also report that 74% of those they polled said that they do expect to retire. And 54% of adults and 68% of those age 50 and older consider themselves at least somewhat ready to do so.