Changing Retirement Trends in America

In France, proposals to raise the retirement age are met with street protests. Yet around the world, the retirement age is creeping up; in the United States, it is moving up from 65 to 67. In fact, 2019 research shows that many Americans expect that they might never retire at all. People simply do not have enough saved to retire comfortably. Americans, in particular, are concerned about whether or not Social Security will be able to provide for them, and health care costs continue to rise. At least some economists encourage today’s workers to stay employed until 70 in order to keep saving.

However, the average lifespan is much longer than in the past, and deteriorating health is often the inspiration for leaving the workplace. Those who stay in the workforce live longer lives and face lower mental and physical health risks. And new and upcoming technologies such as voice assistance and semiautonomous vehicles, among other automated processes, can reduce unnecessary physical and mental demand. These technologies, in tandem with the fewer and more flexible hours of the gig-economy, could well be the face of “unretirement” jobs.

Comparatively, those entering the workforce today say that they have no interest in retirement, that employment is personally and socially rewarding. Birthrates and memberships in religious institutions are at “all-time” lows in the United States, while hours in the workweek are up. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, people work a half-hour longer every weekday than they did 12 years ago, rather than socializing or participating in sports or community events.

However, this trend may be offset somewhat by recent legislation. The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (“SECURE”) Act was approved by the Senate mid-December 2019. This Act would increase access to retirement benefits, as well as incentivize small businesses to offer retirement plans.

Regardless of whether you intend on retiring at 66 or never at all, savings can be useful in case of sudden health decline or support an array of possible choices, from continuing to work but at reduced hours to returning to school or taking a sabbatical in between careers. We help families plan for their retirement years by discussing what your wishes are, what type of legacy you wish to leave, then preparing legal documents to carry out those wishes. We welcome the opportunity to work with you and your family.  Contact our Sherwood or Searcy office at 501-834-2070 for assistance in planning for your situation.

Posted in: Elder Law, Estate Planning

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