Knowing when you are going to retire, or at the very least deciding at what age you’d like to turn in your membership to the working world, is something we all should have in the back of our minds. There is a ticking clock ready to chime, telling us our working lives are over. All of us will, at some point in our lives, stop working, and when that happens, either we will be prepared, or we will be faced with serious difficulty -- a reality that needs to be faced.
Many people are carrying on month-to-month, living hand-to-mouth, year after year, living with meager savings and mounting debt. Research has shown that in the United States, 60 percent of households headed by someone 65 or older have unpaid debts. The average total consumer debt for this age group is now more than double what it was in 2001.
Living with debt, or even worse, borrowing more money to make it through retirement, is not a wise decision. The major problem being that you won’t be able to pay it back, as you are no longer working, not to mention what will happen with that debt once you pass on. Who will that responsibility fall on?
Having investments or relying on Social Security is not going to cut it when it comes to paying down or paying off your debt, providing of course that said investments aren’t going to mature and give you a hefty payout. Surveys have revealed the average credit card debt for people aged 65 and older is now more than double the maximum monthly Social Security payment.
Setting goals and parameters for later life are essential to your financial wellbeing. It goes without saying that if you have not saved enough, then you won’t be able to retire and enjoy your golden years; you’ll be stuck grinding away, paying down debt, and trying to keep your head above water — not exactly the idyllic image of retirement.
Many Americans think the ideal age to retire is 61. This might be a bit over-ambitious given the statistics of how much money people have saved and how unprepared they truly are to retire. Experts agree that 63 is a far more realistic age and some go even further — one in five people believe that you should wait until you’re at least 70 to retire.
Figuring out what you have saved already and then working backward from how much you’ll need to retire will give you an idea of how long you’ll have to keep working. Speak to a professional and get advice if you are not sure of what to do to help reach your goal of a stress-free retirement.
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