If you are nearing retirement, but you feel as though you are not prepared enough, it is not too late to make changes.
There are options to help ensure you are more prepared for retirement that do not require winning the lottery, inheriting a fortune or getting a substantial raise. These include working longer, planning for a part-time encore career, delaying Social Security and sharing your home.
Consider working longer
In the mid-1990s, the typical American man retired by age 62 and the average woman retired by age 59. By 2010, the average retirement ages increased to 64 and 62 for men and women, respectively. The average retirement age is defined as the age in which half of the population no longer works.
Now, 74 percent of working U.S. adults plan to work past retirement age, according to a new Gallup Poll. Approximately 11 percent say they will work full time once they hit retirement age, but the remainder plan to work part-time. The former is a decline from the 18 percent who planned to continue working full time in the 2011 poll.
In its 2016 report, the IRI noted that 30 percent of baby boomers decided to postpone their retirement in the previous year. Fifty-nine percent now plan to retire at age 65 or later. This includes 26 percent who have set age 70 as a retirement goal. Back in 2011, only 17 percent thought they would work to age 70.
If you are self-employed, paring down can be easier. An attorney, a dentist or an insurance broker can stop taking on new clients or slowly reduce hours servicing existing ones.
Social Security delay
People can claim Social Security benefits starting at age 62, but the reasons for delaying are sound. Claiming before your full retirement age - currently 66 and rising - permanently reduces your basic benefits; it drops to 80 percent of what you would have earned had you waited. Conversely, starting Social Security at age 70 resulted in an increase of benefits by over 30 percent.
Put another way, an individual who delays taking Social Security benefits by eight years from 62 to 70 increases payouts by 76 percent. Yet, 67 percent of men born from 1936-1938 claimed their benefits earlier than the full retirement age.
A 2011 report by the MetLife Foundation and Encore.org found that about nine million Americans, or nine percent of those between the ages of 44 and 70, are in second careers. This represented a seven percent increase over three years before.
People who pursue encore careers say they are attracted by the chance to stay productive (79 percent), the flexibility and control over their time (70 percent), learning skills or having new experiences (67 percent) and the feeling of accomplishment (65 percent).
Beside the social and psychological benefits, working longer boosts financial security. Even a little additional income can delay the drawdown of your retirement assets or when you apply for Social Security benefits.
For those who already filed for Social Security before reaching full retirement, the government withholds benefits based on earnings reported above the limits they set for a given year. In 2017, the limit for those receiving benefits is $16,920. Someone who works and earns $26,920 ($10,000 over the $16,920 limit) will see their Social Security income reduced by $5,000 ($1 for every $2 earned over the limit). This rule does not apply after reaching the full retirement age.
Want to learn more? Chris Markowski’s free white paper “Emergency: Prepare Now for the Retirement Crisis” is now available! Download your free copy now.
Chris Markowski has carried the titles of author, investment banker, equity analyst, and consumer advocate. He is the personality behind Watchdog on Wall Street and founder of Markowski Investments.
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