Last month, my sister-in-law purchased a life insurance policy, and when the paramedical-health insurance examiner arrived at her home to run the standard 15-minute physical, she was astonished to learn her reviewer was 80-plus years of age.
“Great part-time job, pays up to $40 an hour and flexible, the retired former nurse told her. “Plus I meet interesting people.”
Say hello to the new breed of worker.
80 is the new 60. Plan to work into your 80s is the message of a new study, Retirement Income Adequacy, The Impact of Deferring Retirement Age released last week by the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI).
“Our research finds that many people may have to delay retirement far beyond age 65 to increase the probability that they have enough money to cover their retirement expenses at a comfortable level,” said Jack VanDerhei, EBRI’s research director and co-author of the report.
- The study finds that if Baby Boomers and Gen Xers delay their retirement past the age of 65, many of them still would not have adequate income to cover their basic retirement expenses and uninsured health care costs.
- The research also shows that even if a worker delays his or her retirement age into their 80s, there is still a chance the household will be “at risk” of running short of money in retirement.
Here’s the good news: The chance of having enough money improves significantly as individuals reach their late 70s and early 80s.
Retirement costs are surprisingly high. Backing up this inescapable demand for more cabbage to live in retirement is research from the quarterly Principal Financial Group’s Financial Well-Being Index, released on Tuesday. The index, which surveys both American workers at growing businesses with 10 to 1,000 workers and retired Americans, found that nearly half of the 523 retirees canvassed said that retirement was more expensive than they had anticipated.
The findings also reveal retirees’ roadblocks to achieving financial success with a third naming not saving enough and more than a quarter naming not starting retirement savings early in their careers among the top impediments to their personal financial success.
Killer healthcare costs. By now, we all know the biggest tripping point for retirement living is costly out-of-pocket healthcare expenses. Consider this: A typical 65-year-old married couple without chronic conditions will need $197,000 to pay for out-of-pocket medical costs throughout retirement, according to calculations by theCenter for Retirement Research at Boston College. That figure includes insurance premiums, services not covered by Medicare and home health care expenses, but it excludes nursing home care. Retirees also have a 5% chance that health care costs that are not covered by insurance will exceed $311,000, according to the study, which was underwritten by Prudential.
Other researchers have come up with equally large numbers. Fidelity Investments estimates that a couple, both age 65 in 2011, will need approximately $230,000 to cover medical expenses throughout retirement not including nursing-home care.
The ideal scenario. If you can keep working and keep tossing money into a 401(k) plan or other defined contribution plan, you’re in luck. “What really makes a positive difference, we found, is if people who continue to work after 65 also continue to contribute to a defined contribution retirement plan, according to EBRI’s VanDerhei.
According to the report, a major factor that makes a difference in a person’s ability to meet their basic expenses and uninsured health care costs in retirement, is the whether they are still participating in a defined-contribution retirement plan (such as a 401(k)) after the age of 65.
The fact is if you have already retired, but are hanging in there with part-time or consulting work to augment your income and delying tapping retirement accounts, having access to one of these employer-provided savings plans is not generally an option. That said, you can still set funds aside in your own IRA or tax-deferred savings plans.
Where the jobs are. The nitty gritty– what kind of jobs are out there for someone working in their 80s?
Well, of course, that depends on your physical and mental mojo. But the truth is, there are lots of paying part-time and flex time jobs from tutoring to fitness trainer, leading tours at the ballpark to working from home as a customer service rep for companies like Office Depot that are viable options. It will take some chutzpah and self-promotion to get in the door perhaps, but it is doable. Check out retirementjobs.com and my AARP Great Jobs for Retirees column for ideas.