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Reasons to delay retirement

By Barbara Whelehan · Bankrate.com
Friday, October 26, 2012
Posted: 5 pm ET

If you're approaching retirement age, you may be wondering when's the best time to give your boss your two weeks' notice. Bankrate's Financial Security Index, released earlier this week, might give you pause.

Bankrate sponsors a poll each month to gauge how Americans feel about their personal finances compared to a year ago. They're asked how they feel about how much they have in savings, their debt levels, their net worth and their overall financial situation, among other things. The October results show an improvement over the previous month, but overall, Americans are not particularly optimistic or pessimistic about their personal finances relative to last year. They're in neutral territory.

A peek at how retirees feel

How do retirees feel about their personal finances compared to the rest of the population? According to our Financial Security Index, they feel pretty much the same as everyone else, except in a few key areas.

For instance, 13 percent of retirees feel less comfortable with their debt levels than they did a year ago, versus 21 percent of the general population. Meanwhile 24 percent of both retirees and the general population feel more comfortable with their debt, and the rest say they feel about the same as last year.

As for net worth, just 18 percent of retirees say it's higher this year than last; 25 percent of the general population says their net worth increased. So it's a bit tougher for retirees to become wealthier if they don't have a regular paycheck, especially since they're tapping their resources to pay for expenses.

The other area where there's notable deviation is found in the question of how people view their overall financial situation. Nearly a quarter (24 percent) of the general population says it's better than last year, but just 16 percent of retirees say it's better. Meanwhile, about a quarter of both demographic segments say it's worse.

These numbers may or may not impact your retirement planning, but they do afford an opportunity for all of us to glimpse how current retirees view their personal finances.

Bankrate's story, 7 signs that now's not the time to retire, also offers food for thought.

When do you plan to retire, and how will you know it's the right time?

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Follow me on Twitter: BWhelehan.

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