SmartMoney Blogs

A blog about living in and planning for retirement

80 is the New 65


The baby boomers won’t be the 60s generation when it comes to retirement. Many will work well into their 70s, and according to a study released today, one in four anticipate working until age 80.

A full three-quarters of middle class Americans plan to work beyond 65, Wells Fargo’s annual retirement survey found.  “It’s really setting in with a lot of people that they’re under-saved and so it might be hard to maintain their lifestyle,” says Joseph Ready, an executive vice president of Wells Fargo Institutional Retirement & Trust.

Even those who think that working until age 80 will be enough to allow them to retire might be in for a shock, he says. “Will they even be able to work then?” Ready asks – especially considering that the risk for dementia, Alzheimer’s and arthritis, to name a few ailments, skyrocket with age. And even if they can work then, will it even be enough money to allow them to retire comfortably?  Consider that what people estimate they might need for retirement and what they actually will need are often quite different, says Laurie Nordquist, another Wells Fargo vice president.  For example, “people think they need about $60,000 for health care.”  In reality, some studies show that that number is more like double that.

Bottom line: “It’s key to have a written plan,” says Nordquist. “This can help you figure out exactly what you need.”  Talk to a financial adviser to develop this plan, and in the meantime, consider figuring out your retirement savings goals now with the SmartMoney Retirement Planner.


We welcome thoughtful comments from readers. Please comply with our guidelines. Our blogs do not require the use of your real name.

Comments (5 of 9)

View all Comments »
    • Work into their 80′s? Who is going to hire you??? If you’re in your 50′s now and you lose your job you are done. 80′s? You can thank Bernankes low interest rate policies. By keeping rates low he’s made it impossible for an entire generation to retire. He’s created economic and demographic distortions that have made for a very crowded labor market resulting in high unemployment. Raise interest rates and you’ll have considerably more people dropping out of the labor force and living off their savings rather than try and compete for a job. If you plan on working into your 80′s, you already have dementia. It’s not an option.

    • Don’t believe this crap for a minute……..

    • Unrealistic expectations of an aged work force to labor on until they drop dead but at least this article acknowledges the problems, “Considering that the risk for dementia, Alzheimer’s and arthritis, to name a few ailments, skyrocket with age.” Two other significant problems; 1. Maintaining current professional knowledge. 2. Shortage of jobs. If older workers don’t retire where are the young workers coming into the workforce going to find jobs? We are currently experiencing diminished employment opportunities due to the further integration of robotics and computers into the workplace. Blue collar and secretarial work are no the longer labor sponges that can soak up an abundant labor force, agri-industry has eliminated much of the former farm employment. Women are also present in the work force in numbers that were unheard of in the golden era of American prosperity, the 1950′s and 60′s. Where are all the jobs going to come from?

    • I’ve heard this before.. the boomers will TRY to work as long as they can but will have to “retire” at 55-60, not because they want to.. but because there are younger cheaper workers that will do the job for half price. That goes for white collar work as well. How “good” does a person haev to be at 50 that a person who’s 30 can’t catch up. Give me a break. More Boomer narcissism. People have aged the same over the past millenia, should have saved more for retirement.

    • Harlan, blue collar workers will likely have to work out of necessity, not by choice. It is doubtful that you will be able to rely on corporate or public pensions and social security in the later years. Without substancial savings workers will not have a choice. That is why saving in your younger years is so important. http://www.networthprotect.com

About Encore

  • Encore examines the changing nature of retirement, from new rules and guidelines for financial security to the shifting identities and priorities of today’s retirees. The blog also explores news that affects retirement, from the Wall Street Journal Digital Network and around the web. Lead bloggers are reporter Catey Hill and senior editor Jeremy Olshan. Other contributors include The Wall Street Journal’s retirement columnists Glenn Ruffenach and Anne Tergesen; the Director for the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, Alicia Munnell; and the Director of Research for Pinnacle Advisory Group, Michael Kitces, CFP.