For the longest time, retirement was the be-all and end-all financial goal. The forty-hour work week and the fifty-year career were geared toward that specific achievement. But now, younger generations are finding that goal more and more difficult to reach. What exactly is happening that makes retirement more unrealistic than it was ten, twenty, or thirty years ago?
The housing market is nothing if not unpredictable. Obviously, that means it can be difficult to generalize how the housing situation might be in a decade or two. But right now, the percentage of people who can comfortably afford housing, relative to their salary, is rapidly shrinking. The amount of money that is required to afford retirement may be very different for different people – depending on where they live. According to the Balance, some people may be prevented from retiring because of the sole obstacle of housing payments.
Another financial obstacle to retirement is healthcare costs. The frustrating thing about healthcare is that some retirees may experience an entire career in the workforce without a single medical emergency, only to encounter one once they retire. Others may have already experienced one and then been unable to retire when they planned to because of the financial strain. Regardless of how hard it is to predict when or if a medical emergency takes place, the fact is that medical emergencies become more likely every year past the age of sixty. The cost varies – but generally is going up. Being without medical insurance in the middle class can be very risky; according to Xevant, the average price for specialty drugs is more than $80,000.
Shifting Government Policies
In the past, the social security system was set up in order to provide a safety net for retirees. In recent years, the program has been in a shaky financial position multiple times and many legislators are in favor of pulling the plug. Now, whether you are for or against social security legislation, the fact of the matter is that the inconsistency in government welfare for the elderly is worrisome. What may be policy now may not be in five, ten, or fifteen years. You (as a current or future retiree) should familiarize yourself with enough of the political and economic landscape to know what you can receive in government subsidies – or on the other hand, what may not be available in upcoming years.
Retirement is still the goal! But you should approach it while being intimately familiar with the difficulties and nuances involved. The fact of the matter is, we no longer live in the golden economic age of picket fences, nine-to-fives, and easy retirement at the age of sixty. Your chances of a good retirement fluctuate with the economy. So be prepared!
Check out this article on tips for making the best of your retirement years