Trends in Retirement: Americans Cut Spending to Make Retirement Resources Last Longer

Written by: Mallory Hall

Long-Term Trends in Retirement

As the economy continues to struggle, workers are experiencing less confidence in their ability to retire.  Many have been forced to delay retirement as they attempt to rebuild savings lost since the economic crisis began, seeking active employment well into their senior citizen years.  The problem lies in the types of job that these elderly are attempting to gain, especially since they are not able to perform the same active tasks as younger employees.  By the same token, others are finding they must make significant changes in spending to make retirement possible.  A recent Sun Life survey indicates that long-term trends in retirement have dropped in several areas since last year and that spending patterns among all workers have changed significantly as well.

Factors Affected by Confidence Levels

The Sun Life survey looked at several factors that affect retirees, including factors outside the control of the worker, those that the worker has some level of control over and benefits necessary after retirement.  Confidence among workers about having employee benefits after retirement fell more than 31% while confidence in government benefits, such as Medicare, fell over 21%.  This change in confidence indicates that many workers believe that they will not have the benefits necessary to be comfortable in retirement.  The economy, which is one of the factors that workers have little control over fell 25%.  The factors that workers had the most control over, personal finance and their own health, dropped the least, each with declines of just over 13%.

Spending Trends

Many Americans have changed spending habits in an effort to rebuild retirement savings.  You may consider taking the money you save and investing it in a retirement account.  Of those surveyed, 93% indicated that they had reduced spending on entertainment, while 88% indicated ate meals out less often.  Americans also reduced holiday gift giving, large purchases and cancelled or postponed vacations in an effort to reduce spending.  The most troubling statistic, however, was that 36% of the respondents had delayed medical procedures in order to reduce spending.  Considering that health problems are normally a significant expense for older Americans, delaying medical procedures could be one of the most dangerous trends in preparing for retirement.

The overall, long-term trends in retirement indicate that fewer workers expect to be retired by age 67.  As more workers work to rebuild savings they have lost by curtailing spending and confidence continues to decline in factors that affect retirement, workers will continue to retire at older ages.


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