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No rest for the retired

By Jennie L. Phipps ·
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Posted: 3 pm ET

My 64-year-old accountant husband has spent our entire Florida vacation this year staring at spreadsheets and IRS rules, calculating retirement account scenarios. He's considering taking the retirement plunge, and even after more than 25 years of managing other people's money, he's nervous about having to depend on his skills to pay our bills. Living without a bi-weekly paycheck is scary, no matter who you are.

It doesn't help any that the economy is punishing us baby boomers, making all of us -- rich and poor -- nervous about our retirement planning.

A survey of financial planners who are members of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants found that 79 percent had clients who were delaying retirement because they could no longer afford it. About one-third said their clients were working one to three more years; 39 percent said four to six more years; and about 14 percent said they had clients who planned to stay on the job more than seven additional years. Ouch.

If it is any comfort, these CPAs, whose clients have between $500,000 and $5 million in savings, also boasted that their customers survived the financial downturn relatively unscathed. About 44 percent said their average client emerged from the recession with increased net worth, and 17 percent saw their net worth stay the same.

Meanwhile, the Employee Benefit Research Institute, a think tank funded by financial services companies, reported that the percentage of people age 55 and older who are still working is at its highest level in 35 years. The study found that 34.6 percent of people 55 and older worked in  in 1975. By 1993, only 29.4 percent were on the job. Since then, the overall labor-force participation rate has steadily increased, reaching 40.2 percent in 2010.

For better or worse, our retirements are unlikely to look much like our parents'. We have to keep working and saving, two realities that aren't all bad. Rocking on the porch is overrated.

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March 04, 2011 at 6:01 pm

CPA's are not financial planners...CFP's are.

Baby o a baby-boomer
March 02, 2011 at 11:13 pm


Mary Davin
February 18, 2011 at 5:25 pm

Hey where are all the Boomers on this topic? Surprised to only see one comment. Well, I for one, a Boomer, agree with the writer of "Homeless." Let those who have the ways and means handle their own retirements and health costs with their own money! They earned the right to do so, right? They should be flogged for milking the funds intended for those who need it the most! Not everyone gets lucky breaks in this life - that's the downside of a competetive, capitalistic economy and greedy people who hoard and take from others!

February 18, 2011 at 4:50 pm

I am a 64 yo widow. I did not take SS at 62, as I'm still working full time, but I plan to take it at 66. My husband would have been 69 today.

February 18, 2011 at 10:06 am

What makes it difficult for many is those that HAVE saved and have PLENTY of money to retire on, have these CPA's that can manuever their assets so they look poor on paper, so then they are utilizing benefits and adding costs to already stressed programs like medicare/caide and social security. Not to mention when they need nursing home care or hospice care they run to title 19. In my industry I have seen people I KNOW for a fact have PLENTY of money to care for their own needs, cry poor and take ADVANTAGE of these programs. Leaving the programs broke, the people who really DO need them limited in benefits, and those waelthy people's families a hefty inheritance.

"whose clients have between $500,000 and $5 million in savings" a majority of these people should be capable of paying their own way!