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Retirement Findings

I came across a report recently with some interesting findings with retirement. You know I love me some bullet points, so here goes. First, I will be throwing in some of my own thoughts as well. I promise it is not a test of whether you can pick out which ones came from me.


  • The odds of a current 65-year old living to age 85 is 71% for women and 62% for men. For a couple where both are 65 years old, odds are 89% one will make it to 85. Last one is both making it until 85 is 45%. This is assuming you are a non-smoker and in excellent health.
  • Same as above, but to make it to age 90 are 52% for women, 41% for men, 72% for one out of a couple and 22% for both.
  • Reaching age 95 percentages are 30%, 20%, 44%, and finally 6% for both of you.
  • Finally, to hit 100 the percentages are 13%, 7%, 18% and 1% for both to make it until then.
  • The rough breakeven age for Social Security is living until 83.
  • There is a site out there where you can “figure out your own longevity.” It’s not too robust but is interesting.
  • The percentages of those 65 and older who will be in the work force continues to increase. In 2020, 27% of those between 65 and 74 were in the work force. The percentage for those 75 and older was 9%. These percentages are expected to both climb to 32% and 12% in 2030. Part of this is the total civilian population age 65 and older will increase from 55 million in 2020 to 72 million by 2030.
  • Before WWII, most Americans worked until they died. Labor force participation rates for men age 65 and over was above 50% until the 1940s.
  • When it comes to people retiring early, the largest reason people do is because they can afford to. However, in second place for retiring early is due to health problems/disability.
  • For the average household with investable assets between $1 million and $3 million, their average annual household spending for age 65 is roughly $95,000. Fast forward to age 95 and that average annual spending number is just under $84,000.
  • Market timing happens whether you are retired or still accumulating assets. Over the last 20 calendar years, 7 of the 10 best days came within 2 weeks of the 10 worst days.
  • If you had invested $10,000 in the S&P500 at the start of 2002, by the end of 2021 you would have $61,685.
  • Had you missed the 10 best days, your return would now be $28,260.
  • Had you missed the 40 best days, your return would now be a negative return as your $10,000 would have turned into $7,372.
  • The first official currency is believed to have been created around 600 BC.
  • At the end of 2018 there was roughly $27 trillion in US retirement accounts.
  • 25% of those 65 and older had pension income in 1975. Of those that did, only 15% of household income came from those pensions.
  • The 401k did not come to life until 1978.
  • The Roth IRA was not created until 1998.


A few final thoughts. 

First, retirement and saving for retirement is still a relatively new concept. Don’t get too caught up in the marketing from my world of what your retirement is supposed to be. You get to define it. Whether that is walking on the beach with your labradoodle and everyone wearing linen, or you continue to work in some form. 

Next, it hasn’t even been a century since the majority of the labor force worked until they died. Now we are expecting to see roughly 1/3 of those 65 and older continuing to work in a few years. Based on my very limited view, I believe a large percentage of this workforce participation number is due to wants and not needs. I talk to quite a few people nearing retirement and a common theme is to continue to working to stay mentally and socially active, but working in a different way. There is a shift from punching the corporate clock to being the starter at the golf course. 

Again, retirement is simply a word and is one you get to define.

I’m Dan Johnson, CFP®, founder of Forward Thinking Wealth Management. I run a flat-fee financial planning and investment management firm located in beautiful Akron, OH. Although I am in Akron, OH, I work with clients regardless of location. I cater to owners of equity compensation positions who are looking to organize their financial lives, keep more of what they make, and do the things they want in retirement and even now.