I was reading a publication for seniors over the weekend. The featured article was about companies who have curtailed or canceled retirement health plans. Unfortunately, companies which either underfunded their health care plans or have had financial setbacks are cutting back on retirees.
Noted was a retired employee of a Fortune 100 company who was upset that his retiree health plan premiums could potentially increase several hundred dollars. But here's the rub: The retired employee was 56 years old.
Where has this guy been the last 25 years!
Nobody retires at 56 unless they are a professional athlete or have won the lottery.
At 56, a retiree is realistically facing 25 years of retirement. Figure how much you would need to live on for 25 years. I won't even through out any numbers because the cost of retirement in Boston, Mass is far different than that of Beaumont, Texas.
With 25 extended years on a fixed income and savings would have me worrying about my health care premium after I figured out "What will I be eating if I get to eat, and where will I live?".
Who sold this guy the dream he could retire at 56 and would be financially comfortable not to worry about his cost of living increasing? Ask any financial planner and unless one is sitting on a considerable nest egg with zero debt, retiring at 56 would be a no-brainer. It ain't gonna happen!
Consider for instance expected cost increases such as taxes (on property, against social security payments, interest on savings, etc.), food, gasoline and utilities. And now consider the possibility of debilitating illness or injury such as a broken hip. 56 seems like the beginning of a long road towards uncertainty.
By the time I am 56, I most likely will be working for my 20th company or more. And with the state of pension plans, Social "Security" and health insurance, I actually expect be working at 66, 76 and possibly 86 if at all possible.
Once upon a time (1900), the life expectancy of a man was 54 years of age in the U.S. 56 would be considered old age and possibly a suitable time for one to relax and enjoy a few precious months with loved ones and friends.
But this is 2007, not 1907.
The rules changed 25 years ago. Maybe longer, but unlikely more recently.
56 is not the time to retire, but the time to start that second or third career.
I believe a person has so much potential and there are so many great opportunities that is almost seems like a crime to give up and retire at such a young age. Even at the ripe old age of 56.
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