Most Important Retirement Planning Decisions

The Two Most Important Retirement Planning Decisions

Updated on Feb 27 2019


A new report from the Stanford Center on Longevity (SCL) confirms what we’ve known about retirement in America. The majority of baby boomers do not have enough savings to retire at 65 and maintain the same standard of living. Learn the two most important decisions affecting retirement today.

Gone are the days of built-in corporate retirement plans with pensions. Today, Americans need to proactively plan their own retirement and recent research from Stanford Center on Longevity shows that most baby boomers are preparing their finances for their golden years. In fact, to retire, most baby boomers will need to work beyond the age of 65 or reconsider their retirement lifestyle.

Learn more about the report from the SCL and the most impactful retirement planning decisions that need to be addressed sooner, rather than later.

Stanford Center on Longevity on Retirement Preparedness

The Sightlines Project is an ongoing research effort from Stanford University to investigate how well Americans are living as longevity increases. Focusing on healthy behaviors, financial security and social engagement, the project aims to enhance the lives of Americans and help them age well, even as longevity continues to increase. Launched in 2014, the project compares age cohorts relative to the same cohort in prior years, revealing marked differences in focus areas and trends in the health and wellness of aging Americans.

When comparing the retirement readiness of the baby boomer generation to the silent generation, the SCL report found that:

  • 30 percent of baby boomers had no money saved in retirement plans in 2014
  • Baby boomers between the ages of 55 - 60 have less saved than previous generations at that age
  • Nearly 66 percent of baby boomers have debt, compared to 40 percent of those before 1940
  • Baby boomers between the ages of 55 -60 have a higher debt burden compared to previous generations

Overall, the report found that today’s baby boomers are less financially secure than previous generations of retirees and that they are in vulnerable position as they move towards, and through retirement.

The Two Most Important Decisions Affecting Retirement Today

Knowing that today’s retirees are facing a financial vulnerable situation, leads to two questions that are the most important factors in retirement planning. They are:

  1. Your retirement age
  2. Your retirement lifestyle (i.e. leaving the workplace entirely, switching careers, or working part-time after retiring from a full-time job)

These two key decisions will have the most influence on your retirement income and financial security. The period of time between the ages of 62 and 70 are considered the “retirement opportunity zone” where important decisions about working, retiring and downshifting, or working part time, will have a significant impact on your retirement income. Choosing to work longer, even for just a few years, can heavily influence your financial security in retirement, even working part-time can alter your financial situation in a positive way.

Setting Yourself Up for a Successful Retirement

Getting retirement right and managing money for a good retirement is a challenge for many. As longevity increases and retirement savings decrease, it’s important to consider when and how to retire. In fact, every successful retirement plan hinges on these two factors. Are you unsure about your ideal retirement age and retirement goals? Sitting down with a fiduciary financial advisor can help you understand where you are in your retirement planning and what you need to do to get where you want to go. Contact a fiduciary financial advisor today to start planning for your future.

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