Poll: Have Recent Economic Conditions Changed Your Expectations for Retirement?

After a little over a year of constant downturns in the economy and stock markets, some discussion is coming to light in terms of people reconsidering what retirement means, and how they are going to get there. I know I’ve seen this in my practice, as I’m encountering many more people who are approaching retirement in 10 years or less and they are seriously thinking about extending how long they work, or even changing their retirement plans.

It’s understandable that if you’re just a few years from retirement and you had a large stake in the stock market, the losses experienced this year are enough to rattle even investors who are typically risk adverse. But, what about the younger generation that typically reads this site? The bulk of readers here are in the 25-45 year old range, which puts a typical retirement at anywhere from 20-40 years away. With a longer time horizon, I wonder if the recent economic climate has forced younger people to begin thinking more critically about their retirement expectations.

Is retirement still too far off to really worry about at this point? Are you reconsidering how your investments for retirement are structured after what’s happened? Do you plan on working longer, or change your retirement goals?

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Author: Jeremy Vohwinkle

My name is Jeremy Vohwinkle, and I’ve spent a number of years working in the finance industry providing financial advice to regular investors and those participating in employer-sponsored retirement plans.

14 comments
Tom - EconomicCrisisBlog.com
Tom - EconomicCrisisBlog.com

The current economic conditions will have no affect on my retirement expectations as Im only 23 and in fact it should have a positive affect as I plan on buying a few assets as they get cheap.

DivaJean
DivaJean

When it comes to retirement, I am so SCREWED.

My employer offers a pension program. To qualify, one must put in X numbers of years (which would be no problem, I've already met the number) AND be born before January 1, 1966. I am a March 1966 baby. Their reasoning is that our generation has enough time to plan and save for our own retirement needs. We get a pittance of 401K matching (rumored to be going away from the economic downturn however). I have always contributed the max to my 401K, knowing I'd never see a pension. Great. I don't even want to look at what the value of that debaucle is now!

AND I have 4 kids (ages 9, 6, 3, and 1) and a stay at home spouse. I will be working until I am put in a small pine box and dirt thrown over it.

Alex
Alex

Thankfully, my husband and I are very young, and we feel like we'll have plenty of time to get back the $5,000 of our IRA that we've lost due to the stock market fall-out. However, I get a little laugh out of realizing that he started investing in our IRA about a year and a half ago, when the market was peaking. Seriously... it's such a gamble. I'm just grateful we have time to let it all even out!

It's fun to know that people like you are interested in personal finance like we are! When you find a second in your busy day, visit our blog at www.financialnut.com! :) Thanks!

Kelley
Kelley

My 457 deferred comp plan took a big hit. I'm 32 and I know it has plenty of years to recover, but it still worries me. I increased my contributions a few months ago by $30 a month; I wonder if it would have been better to put the money into CDs with a 4+ APY.

However, I also have a defined benefit plan for which I am vested. Twenty-two more years of working for the state and I will have an unreduced benefit from that.

My biggest worry at this point is my daughter's college savings account. We will need that money in 16 years, a lot sooner than I will retire.

stocks
stocks

Wow, i'm surprised that so many people decided to push back the idea of retirement with all that is going on. We had to do some serious adjusting with our finances in order to be able to retire at the right time, with the minimum amount of money we want available. It's better to change now and build momentum, then later, and try to catch up...

anon
anon

The pullback has made me think that early retirement probably just isn't in the cards.

As gen-Xers, we've been investing into an overvalued market for our whole lives. According to luminaries like Jack Bogle, this bear is great, because we'll now be buying into a more sanely valued market.

I don't see this as buying shares "on sale." According to PE ratios, we're now buying them at a fair price. Finally.

I just hope they go on sale soon. Maybe, just maybe, I can reconsider early retirement then.

Jay
Jay

My 457b (401k equivalent for public employees) account has taken quite a hit. However, the same dollars are buying 33% more shares now than they were a few months ago. I'm pushing myself to increase the amount diverted from each paycheck to take advantage of the low prices.

Jeremy
Jeremy

FinancialFellow, that's not pessimistic, but the reality. I've seen a lot of this lately, and it's discouraging. I meet with a lot of young people just getting started with their first real jobs, have a retirement plan with a decent match program, and they are using the weak economy as an excuse to not save.

This plan even offers a fixed account paying over 4%, but for whatever reason, all of the bad news out there has them scared to even take a 100% return with the match and a no-risk investment. It's an uphill battle, but anyone who's just getting started, or has only been investing for a few years should really take advantage of this opportunity. Sure, we might not be at a bottom quite yet, but 30 years from now, who cares.

FinancialFellow
FinancialFellow

I hate to be a pessimist but I think the market pullback has caused a good number 20 somethings to put off saving for retirement. When the news of the day is how much money everyone is losing in their 401k's many people use this news to justify not contributing to their retirement accounts or continuing minimal contribution levels...

shadox
shadox

The advantage of being relatively young (mid thirties) is that this downturn is a major opportunity to double down on the stock market. This is an amazing opportunity to buy stocks on the cheap, knowing that in the long run (which can be 20 years) they will return to their long term average return of about 8% annually.

Buy low, sell high. Right?

FixThePig
FixThePig

The pull back that the market has experienced is great opportunity to purchase some stocks at relatively good value levels. I would caution anyone who thinks this is the bottom however. Make sure you keep yourself well balanced and have stocks are only a portion of your retirement plans, even when they look cheap!

Jeff
Jeff

I am 40, and in a "normal" economy I would have several opportunities for advancement. However those in positions above me are delaying their retirement by 3-5 years or indefinitely due to the current state of our economy.

Angie
Angie

I am 24 and have plenty "excess" from monthly spending. I was considering maxing out my 401k and also setting up an IRA before my income is over the threshold (likely next year). But with the amount of student loan debt I would feel more comfortable having loans paid off then taking advantage of the low market. This is the same reason why I have decided not to buy a house in the down market even if I could save up enough for a downpayment.

I have however switched my contributions to 100% company stock while it is ~33% lower than it was before the downturn.

Miranda
Miranda

I think the advantage to being under 30 and a relatively conservative investor is two fold:

1. I have lots of time to make this up (especially buying at these bargain prices)

2. My mostly conservative portfolio, though hit, wasn't hit THAT hard.

I'm not very worried.