Retirement & Financial Planning Report

Many people have pushed back their expected retirement date due to recent economic conditions, but life events often intervene to throw off plans for working longer, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute.

EBRI found that due to the recession, the percentage of those retiring at or before what they had expected to be their retirement point fell from 72 percent to 50 percent. And 41 percent were still working more than three years after their expected retirement point, compared with only 16 percent previously.

The study looked at expected and actual retirement points for a group of workers over time, finding that only 14 percent retired in the year they had expected, while 48 percent retired afterward and 38 percent before.

However, the study warned against having expectations of especially lengthy working careers. For example, 49 percent of men and 46 percent of women in the study group expected to work past age 65, but only 13 and 6 percent, respectively, actually did so. Among the reasons for falling short of that age target are personal health issues, family issues, and loss of job with diminished prospects for other employment.

EBRI said it “also found that people who have a retirement plan tend to retire closer to when they expected, compared with those without a plan. It also found that the gap between expected and actual retirement among those with defined benefit plans and defined contribution plans is generally very small.”