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Carla Fried: Planning to work longer? Here's a reality check and a strategy for success

Carla Fried, on

Published in Home and Consumer News

Americans who face 401(k) and IRA account balances that likely won't generate nearly enough money to live on comfortably have decided they'll just keep working.

More than one third of pre-retirees surveyed by the Employee Benefit Research Institute say their plan is to keep working until at least age 70; 45% are setting their sights on retiring after age 65.

And this isn't some sort of self-empowering choice to keep connected to the work world and its supportive social structure. This is about financial stress. In the survey, the most cited reasons for wanting to delay retirement:

--Can't afford to retire (49%)

--Lack of faith in Social Security (46%)

--Healthcare costs (45%)


Making a go of working longer

Delaying retirement a few years is a reasonable and responsible strategy. Especially considering there's a solid chance you'll live past your mid-80s. But it's not something to count on. More than 40% of folks who have already retired report they stopped working earlier than planned.

Typically, circumstances, not choice, speed up retirement. A not-so-gentle shove out the door, maybe entirely undeserved, or perhaps a self-induced exit due to burnout. Illness. Or needing to care for a parent or partner.

Anyone in their 50s -- or making that turn soon -- who wants to successfully pull off the work-longer strategy should focus on these four steps:


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