Saturday, September 22, 2007

Is “Retirement” the Word for It?

Marketers of investment products and services use the word retirement a lot. Too much, most likely. Their prospective customers aren't necessarily looking forward to retirement. They're dreaming of financial independence.

Nevertheless, for lack of a better word, retirement is topic A in today's Wall Street Journal. See their Encores section (subscribers.)

People should start planning the who, where and how of retirement sooner, the Journal argues. Sound theory. In practice, variables including health, wealth, layoffs, divorce and relocating children tend to upset the apple cart.

One in four Americans age 65-74 works. Among the affluent the ratio may be closer to one in three. Some are working online, as you'll see here.

According to this Guidelines report, the whole concept of retirement needs rethinking:
Today, people live longer, possess greater wealth, and work well past the previously accepted “retirement age.” However, this does not mean people are postponing traditional retirement, but rather they are transforming their lifestyles to bridge between their career-driven years and the point at which they truly retire, ceasing all employment.

Most people who are approaching retirement or are well into their
retirement years reject how retirement is defined, or at least how it is characterized. Only one in four Americans age 50 to 70 say “the end of your productive years” is an accurate description of retirement; the leading-edge baby boomers decidedly reject this label with 54 percent calling it inaccurate.
The Guidelines report also notes "a dramatic increase in interest in trusts and more complicated vehicles to pass on wealth."

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