That was the title of a recent article in Charles Schwab’s investment magazine, which the company sends out to its investors. They could’ve changed the age to 62 or 65. The answer would be the same, but it took them more than 200 words to say medical insurance costs are outrageously high even if you’re old enough to be covered by Medicare.
And the article also noted that although older workers had retirement portfolios that ballooned in the 1990s, those portfolios burst when techology stocks took a downward dive. Therefore, some American who had taken an early retirment had to return to work.
There was no mention of the fact that even with the new drug plans, retirees still can’t afford to buy all the drugs they need.
And think about this–many senior citizens didn’t save a dime while they were younger. So, the answer to the question, why are they still working? They have to!
Fortunately, I’m one of the people who at least took a stab at saving, mainly because I’m a realist and always have been. I never expected to be able to exist on Social Security alone. I knew, there was no way I could live on less than $300 a week. That’s actually what my Social Security check will look like when I reach age 66. The scary thing is, even after saving what little I could over the years, while raising a family, I’m still not going to be comfortable in my old age.
Another little ditty that Schwab printed in that issue was a list of quotes. One of them quoted Warren Buffett. “Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” Looks and sounds good on paper, doesn’t it? But remember that bursting bubble Schwab wrote about? I’m living through this one, and I lived through a horrendous one years ago that wiped away almost half of the money I had managed to save. All of that money was in mutual funds, because I knew zilch about the stock market.
I still don’t know much about the market, but after that horror, I learned to diversify. I, at least, learned that much!
If you visit the folks at this site who also read the Schwab article, their suggestion is try Fixed Annuities, Bank CDs, and U.S. Government Savings Bond. They make a case for keeping your money safe from loss.
That “risk-free” sounds pretty good, but there’s a trade off. The gains are small, and fees for variable annuities are pretty steep. And once you’re in a mutual fund, what do you do, bow out and take a huge hit?
Here’s something else that I found quite amusing.
When and if you actually do retire,
…just resist the urge to treat the contents of your accounts like mad money.
What?! There are people who actually have mad money? Not in my circle of friends.
That same amusing article goes on to say,
And forget about that cushy 15% income tax rate most retirees are eligible for, warns Schatsky. As soon as you have more than $63,700 in retirement income, the tax rate skyrockets to 25%.
Well, at least, here I get a break. I won’t have to worry about my tax rate skyrocketing. As a single, working woman, I have never earned that much money annually in my entire life while I was still working.
Now that I’m sitting here analyzing the question of retirement further, I’d venture to say that in another five years Schwab can print the exact same article; just title it, Why More Americans Are Working Past Age 75.