The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Survey shows Americans don’t plan on retiring early

A recent study suggests Americans don't expect to be able to comfortably retire until age 80.

Retiring at the age of 65 could be a thing of the past, according to a survey by Wells Fargo & Company about retirement.

The survey was based on phone interviews with 1,500 middle-class Americans ranging in age from their 20s to 70s.

Of those surveyed, 25 percent said they will need to work until at least age 80 to live comfortably in retirement. In explaining this, more than 75 percent of those surveyed said it is more important to have a specific amount saved before retirement regardless of age.

However, Lora Reinholz, adjunct instructor of finance at Marquette, said people who have been consistently planning for retirement will be able to retire at a reasonable age. She also said those who reported they will need to work until they are 80 years old probably decided to spend first and save later.

Rather than focusing on retirement, Reinholz said the more immediate concern for college students is that few job opportunities will open up if people are working longer.

“Students are not getting jobs (after graduation) that reflect the amount of time and money they are putting into school,” she said.

Reinholz also said students should begin saving for retirement as soon as possible. She advised students with part-time jobs to start investing in a Roth IRA, a special type of retirement plan that is not generally taxed.

Once students are working in their first full-time job, Reinholz said to immediately invest in a 401(k), where workers can put in up to 6 percent of their earnings and the company will generally give them a 3 percent match.

“You are basically giving money back to your employer if you don’t invest in (a 401(k)) if the company offers a match,” she said. “People need to rely on themselves to save.”

Reinholz also said it is important to save 20 to 30 percent of one’s earnings for long-term goals such as retirement, purchasing a home and education for one’s children.

According to the survey, the majority of middle-class Americans who lack a written financial plan said they are “overwhelmed” by the thought of saving for retirement and that it is “pointless.”

Reinholz emphasized that even little investments make a difference. She said if people invest $1,000 today with 8 percent interest, they will have more than $20,000 in 40 years.

“Time value of money still works,” Reinholz said.

The probability of people working until they are 80, however, is not very high, according to Reinholz. She said people of that age would most likely not be able to work in physically demanding jobs, as they would experience too much physical and mental stress.

Although the survey suggests thinking about retirement early, students aren’t quite ready to jump that far ahead.

Elizabeth Krunnfusz, a freshman in the College of Communication, said she is just starting to figure out what type of work she would like to do, not what she will do once she stops working.

“There is a lot of pressure in college to think about the future and not just financially,” Krunnfusz said. “Many students just say they will think about it tomorrow.”

Megan Maki, a freshman in the College of Engineering, said she wants to retire young and enjoy her years in retirement, but plans to start saving later.

“There are so many expenses paying for college it is difficult to save or think about saving,” Maki said.

Dave Larmann, a junior in the College of Business Administration, said he can see himself working until 70 but not until 80.

He also said he knows it is important to save for retirement, but will start that after graduation.

“Right now, I am just trying to buy bread,” Larmann said.

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