How Literate Are You About Retirement?


Retirement is a concept most of us don’t think about until one is faced with it. I suspect if you are like most people, then the answer to the question posed in the headline is…not nearly as literate as you might think.

Given that you are a Strumings reader you might figure that I might be a little more educated than most about this topic. Also, since I am 65 (but nowhere near retirement) that could also give me an edge, you might think. Alas you’d be wrong, at least directionally, because when I took the retirement literacy test discussed below I was humbled as I correctly answered only 31 of 38 questions. Only 81%, a B- in academia. On the other hand, that put me in the 95th percentile since the average score was 47% so I guess I am smarter than the average bear. But the test is tough–not a phony Facebook test we’ve all been suckered into.

These findings are part of a 2017 survey, the RICP® Retirement Income Literacy Survey, from The American College of Financial Services. Respondents to the survey were aged 60-75 with a minimum of $100,000 non-real estate assets.

It’s important to educate yourself on retirement issues whether retirement is straight ahead or off in the distance. Personally while I am not fixated on retirement, as I am planner, I think it’s critical to educate myself. I enjoy my work and as a consultant I will assume that I will continue to work so long as I have:

–Good health

–Sharp brain

–Good clients where I can add value

There are plenty of people who already question whether I qualify under criteria #2. But you never know when #1 or #3 will catch up to you.

But if you are employed, you cannot assume that you will “work until you drop”, even if you want to. It’s just highly unlikely. You should assume one, or more, of these 4 things:

1. You will get nudged out of your current job

2. You will have significant difficulty in replacing your current job at a comparable salary and retire reluctantly

3. You may (or may not) chose to work at a lesser salaried job, full or part time

4. You may not physically or mentally be able to continue at your current job.

All of these issues will make you think about retirement. So take the survey. As you take it you will realize that there are many things to learn—social security, Medicare, long term care, annuities, reverse mortgages, required distributions, estate planning, among others. Lots to learn and as in anything in life, there are more options if you plan early.

So click on this link which takes you to a summary report of the survey findings along with a link to the survey, Take The Quiz. Don’t be bummed if you fail.

Be thankful that you now know what you don’t know—that’s OK….just do something about it now.

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