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I Expect to Retire When I Am

A report by the Employee Benefits Research Institute, based on the survey of 37,000 people aged 50 and older conducted by the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan, found that 60% of respondents said their work was impacted by the pandemic. They found that elderly Americans surveyed did not alter their retirement expectations significantly as a result of the pandemic, including planned retirement age and Social Security benefit claiming age. The study examined whether there was any difference between the planned and expected retirement ages of those impacted by the pandemic vs. those who were not impacted and found no statistical difference between the two groups. Both groups largely plan to retire at about age 66 but expect to actually be able to retire at age 69.

“Retirement expectations determine retirement intentions, and retirement intentions predict retirement behavior,” the report, authored by Zhikum Liu, senior research associate at EBRI, said. “Individuals who want to maintain their desired standard of living when retired will need to accumulate sufficient financial assets with careful preparation and have a more realistic retirement age projection before actual retirement…”

Otherwise, we can expect the caregiving population to explode as people are unprepared for the costs of retirement, especially as it relates to health care costs.

Traditionally, retirement meant leaving a 9-to-5 job and living out your golden years. Social security income and pensions supported the retiree’s lifestyle. People retired from their job but did not retire from their family.

Life expectancy throughout most of human evolution was somewhere between eighteen and twenty years. Life was short. By the mid-1800s life expectancy had reached the mid-thirties in the United States, and in 1900 it was forty-seven years. By the end of the twentieth century, life expectancy had reached seventy-seven years. It gained thirty years in one century—that’s unprecedented.2 The increase in life expectancy made family caregiving for elderly people more common.

- Excerpt from "How Not to Tear Your Family Apart"

2 “Longevity and Retirement: An Expert on Aging Explains How Retirement

Is Being Redefined,” Fidelity Viewpoints, Fidelity, February, 3, 2021,

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