Four Reasons Many of Us Cannot Retire When We Want To


At the rate we are going in the world today, retirement age is going to be somewhere around 250, or when you die; whichever comes first. In fact, it’s kind of disturbing how many people just shrug and say that they’ll retire when they can rather than actually look forward to retiring at 62 when they are technically at retirement age. Most people at that age don’t retire, and it has everything to do with simply not being able to afford to do just that. It’s a shame, and it certainly makes me worry about my own future. Will I ever be able to retire? Will my husband? We work so hard, but we do have four kids and we do have a nice lifestyle, so will we be able to continue that in 30 years? Who knows?

The deal is simple; most of us probably will not be able to retire when we want to. We might decide 62 sounds lovely, but not retire until we’re 80. I don’t know since I’m not a predictor of the future, but I do know that there are a few good reasons most of us will not retire at 62. Perhaps making mention of them here will force us to face our demons and actually do something about our futures.

We blindly contribute

I’m guilty of this one. I know that my husband and I contribute to a 401(k) plan and other retirement plans and items, but I don’t really know how much that translates into for our future. I had to learn that recently and it really did make me feel quite bad that these were not things that I did not know before. We need to know what we are contributing and how it will benefit us in the future. Wouldn’t you just feel heartbroken if you went your entire life contributing what you are contributing now only to find out if you’d just put in an additional $50 per month, you could have had hundreds of thousands of dollars extra in your account?

We are in debt

How many times do I hear people talking about refinancing their mortgage only to do it for the same 30 years they already paid on for a few years? The purpose is to save money, not stretch out your payments even longer. It’s too bad, though, because most of us will retire in debt – or not retire at all because of debt – and it will simply mean that we don’t get to enjoy our retirement as we should. We should not have debt, even a mortgage payment when we retire. How many of us will reach retirement age and realize it’s not feasible since we did not work on paying off our mortgage and we simply cannot afford to retire thanks to that?

We live for the moment

How many times do we hear that we need to live for the moment and forget about the future? Live for the moment, we like to say. That’s all fine and dandy, and it’s actually good advice if you’re someone who worries a lot and cannot control most of your situations. However, it’s not good idea when it comes to retirement. In that line of thinking, you cannot live for the moment. You have to live for future moments.

Expectations are too high

When I retire, I’m going to move into a palace right on the beach in Hawaii after I have my Ferrari carried over on the back of a dragon and my personal chef (probably Bobby Flay) will cook breakfast, lunch and dinner and only vacation when the Pioneer Woman can come to town and take over my daily meals for me. Also, my husband and I will still look as good as we do now in our 30s and we will have successful, beautiful kids who have families of their own but spouses who want to come to see us for all the holidays so that we don’t have to worry about missing Christmas or Thanksgiving or Easter with any of the grandkids thanks to other grandparents. I mean, really. That’s my retirement plan.

Or maybe we will just live a nice, quiet life somewhere in which we enjoy our time on a more realistic level; such as with a less famous chef cooking all our meals. Really, though, we all have a picture of what retirement should look like and it’s probably a bit nicer than what reality is going to bring us. We aren’t aware of what we are saving or how we are doing it, so we think we have a life ahead of us that’s all this and all that, but we actually don’t. That is going to be a deal breaker for a number of us.

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