Intro: For the past 25 years, the number of people ages 65-69 in the workforce has gone up a whopping 74 percent. If that trend keeps climbing you might be asking yourself if you'll ever get to retire. Well, there's no doubt the retirement landscape has changed, but it's still a viable option if you prepare yourself for the new realities.
Reality number one is that you must be more self-reliant and take more personal responsibility for your retirement. That means saving earlier and saving more.
Take SOT: Greg McBride, Senior Financial Analyst
"The game has changed. The burden is increasingly on us as individuals to save for our own retirement, so aim to save 15% of your income specifically for retirement. And the sooner you get to that threshold, the better."
Another reality is to have a back-up plan. Chances are you'll need more money in retirement than you realize ... so just participating in a 401(k) still might not be enough. Supplementing your retirement with a Roth IRA can boost your retirement savings, while providing flexibility to withdrawal money tax-free in retirement ... since you already paid the tax when you made the contribution in your working years.
Take SOT: "Anyone with earned income is eligible to contribute to an IRA. Even a stay-at-home spouse or someone without their own income can still contribute based upon household earnings."
Working longer may not only helps finances, but sharpness of mind, too. Postponing collection of Social Security from 62 to 70 can mean a 76 percent increase in benefits. Plus, studies by the American Economic Association have shown that staying in the labor force in your later years also helps with cognitive function of the brain ... use it or lose it!
Another jarring reality? Even those who diligently save face staggering health care costs. Medicare doesn't cover everything, in fact the average 65-year-old couple will spend 260,000 on out-of-pocket healthcare during their retirement years, according to Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.
Bottom line: Save more, save earlier and be prepared to work longer. To learn more about funding your retirement, just visit the retirement tab at Bankrate.com. I'm Kristin Arnold.