Every month, more than a quarter-million Americans turn 65. By 2030, 1 out of every 5 Americans will have celebrated their 65th birthday. Surprisingly, the fastest growing segment of the US population is those aged 100 and over!
Roughly 1 out of 6 percent of baby boomers now report that they are retired, up from 1 out of 10 as recently as 2010. Overall, retired workers receiving Social Security benefits has more than tripled since 1970, from 13.3 million in 1970 to over 39.0 million in 2014.
Significant challenges await those heading into their post-work years.
Not surprisingly, retirees often face fears and concerns that can kill the joy of not having to set the alarm anymore. The eight biggest are running out of money, the increasing burden taxes, inflation, the deficit and U.S. debt, health care costs, living without purpose and meaning, not passing on family values and treating the heirs fairly to maintain family unity.
AARP reported a few years ago that 2 out of 3 older Americans fear running out of money more than dying. This concern shared is shared by middle class as well as the upper middle class. No one wants to have to depend on their children during retirement.
The fear of running out of money is not unfounded.
Major medical advances are lengthening the average life expectancy. On the surface, this is good news. However, the average life expectancy for a 65-year old male increased 40 percent from 1990 to 2002, according to the latest life expectancy data. This means the need to fund an additional 6 years of lifestyle.
It gets worse, as people live longer. Half the retirees are at risk of not being able to maintain their standard of living in retirement, according to CBS MarketWatch. The Wall Street Journal reported that 2 out of 3 retirees are not financially prepared to live into their 90s.
The increasing tax burden is equally disconcerting for retirees. The top 10 percent of income earners are paying a surprising 71 percent of the tax burden, up from less than 50 percent in 1980. With the deficit exceeding $18.2 trillion, the promise of lower tax rates in retirement seems like a pipe dream to most retirees.
In addition, running afoul of IRS retirement account rules can cost a bundle. An IRS report showed that in 2010, Americans paid $5.8 billion in penalties on retirement account withdrawals, in addition to the regular tax paid.
One of the best ways for retirees to ease their fears and concerns is to become more educated about the challenges and potential solutions.
Using research, interviews and actual examples of failures and success, a group of retirement income and tax planners have launched a series of Retiree Private Briefings across the United States and Canada. The first two, How To Reduce Income And Estate Taxes on Your IRA, 401(k) And Pension and Income And Estate Tax Reduction – 5 Simple Strategies To Pay Less In Taxes and Have More Money In Retirement, are suitable for retired and soon-to-be-retired executives, business owners and other professionals.
Research shows that many retirees are in the dark when it comes to options. In order for the “golden years” to actually be golden, education is essential. Understanding options and protecting against retirement challenges is the best prescription for a happy retirement.