How Long Are You Planning To Work Before Retirement?

While the 2016 Presidential election has captured most of our nation’s attention this year, you may have missed the end of an era in professional baseball. At the end of the 2016 Major League Baseball season, Vin Scully quietly and gracefully stepped away from the Los Angeles Dodgers’ broadcast booth, ending an historic 67-year hall of fame career in broadcasting. At the tender age of 88, one of baseball’s most beloved personalities has finally hung up his microphone to enjoy retirement. Much like Ernie Harwell’s retirement from broadcasting Detroit Tigers games over a decade ago, Vin Scully’s retirement leaves a huge void in Major League Baseball that may never be filled again.

Vin Scully’s career longevity is certainly rare. Rarer yet is that he worked for one employer, the Dodgers, for 67 years. Just how rare is Vin Scully’s accomplishment? Scully worked for the L.A. Dodgers five years longer (67 years) than the average American’s retirement age (age 62) according to the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies survey of retirees and pre-retirees.

It is probably safe to say that most Americans do not have occupations that are as enjoyable and glamorous as Vin Scully’s job broadcasting L.A. Dodger games seven or eight months out of the year. Even so, according to the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies survey, many workers age 50 and older indicated that they planned to work longer and retire at age 67, five years longer than the current average retirement age of 62.

This begs the question then, with so many Americans planning to retire at age 67, why is 62 the average retirement age in America? The Transamerica survey found that 60% of current retirees retired earlier than they planned.

There were five reasons given for the early retirements in the Transamerica study. Two of the most frequently cited reasons for retiring early were completely out of the control of the retiree. Tied for first, at 27% each, in the reasons for retiring early were health concerns and organizational changes in the workplace. Following closely behind was the third most frequent reason for early retirement, loss of job, at 26%. 12% of retirees retired earlier than expected because they believed they had enough money to live a comfortable retirement. Finally, 4% retired earlier than expected because they received a large windfall, such as an inheritance.

The results of the Transamerica survey offer a sobering lesson for Americans: you may not be able to work as long as you intend to. While few Americans may choose to work as long as Vin Scully did, those planning to work until age 70, or even 67, may not have that opportunity for reasons entirely out of their control.

This makes retirement planning even more challenging because we may not have those last few years to sock away funds for our retirement. The employment uncertainty late in our working years emphasizes the need to start saving for retirement very early in our working years. It also highlights the need to have a solid financial plan in place at an early age so we can handle the curveballs life throws at us.

If you are a fan of baseball like I am, we are saddened that we will no longer be able to enjoy Vin Scully’s familiar play-by-play announcing of Dodger games. Nevertheless, we can still enjoy the memories of his legendary broadcasts: calling Jack Morris’ no-hitter against the Chicago White Sox on a bitterly cold Saturday in April in 1984, Kirk Gibson’s fairy tale game-winning home run in game one of the 1988 World Series, or countless other moments of baseball lore.

My wish for each and every one of you is that you have a long and comfortable retirement that gives you the opportunity to revisit memories like these many times. The first step to that comfortable retirement is setting up a financial plan. Please call our office at 419-878-3934 if you have not yet taken the first step towards planning for your long and comfortable retirement.

Source: Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies