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The Future of Retirement

Pete Springer/OPB

The daily drumbeat of layoff, furlough, and unemployment news is almost enough to make you forget that sometimes people actually want to stop working. Retirement — a voluntary one, that is — remains a goal for many working Americans. But longer life expectancies, pension plan freezes, tanking 401(k)s, and concern about social security call into question not just the viability of imminent retirements but the prospect of retirement in general. Will today’s 20-year-olds have to work for the rest of their lives?

Financial planners like to talk about retirement as a stool propped up with three legs: retirement accounts (whether public or private pensions, or 401(k)s), personal savings, and social security. With serious question marks surrounding all three, is it time for a new model? What might employers’ roles look like in the future? What about a government safety net?

Were you hoping to retire soon? Have the upheavals of the last year forced a course correction?

If you’re in your 20s or 30s, do you hope to put your feet up by your 80s? How do you plan to get there?


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