It really IS in how one looks at things.
Take, for example, the statistical data compiled by the Federal Reserve and analyzed by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College for The Wall Street Journal in this article on Boomer retirement.
The statistics themselves are not encouraging:
The median 401(k) plan for folks ages 60 or 61 holds only $149,400, including plans from previous jobs. To figure the annual income from that level of savings, analysts looked at what the family would get from a fixed annuity. They found that $149,400 would generate just $9,073 a year.
The median income for the folks surveyed was $87,700.
Wow! And I thought I was behind!
In fact, the survey found that only 8% of near-retirees had saved the $636,673 necessary to generate 85% of their prior income that the analysts thought necessary for a comfortable retirement.
But that's where I part company with the analysts.
I agree with Morrison at All Doors Considered, who first brought this survey to my attention. I just don't see that I or most other retirees will really need 85% of their prior income.
I know, for myself, that I currently pay for a mortgage, and I put away a third of my income in my 401(k) as part of a belated attempt to pump up my retirement savings. Both of these expenses will be gone by the time I retire.
I also note that the analysts posit that folks will have to retire later, whereas I wonder if that is more of a "want to" than a "have to." Again, for myself, my work is an important part of who I am. Right now I do have to work until age 69 to attain the savings I think I will need. But I strongly suspect I would stay employed at least part-time past age 62 or 65 even if I didn't have to.
Morrison thinks retirees won't travel as much as they believe they might in the first days after retirement. I don't know that I fully agree, but I do know that as a retiree, I'll be able to take advantage of last-minute discounts that I currently cannot as a working woman with an employer who wants to know well in advance as to when and how long I'll be gone.
One place where she's wrong is when she says seniors willingly give up their gourmet coffee. NOT THIS SENIOR! But I do buy the coffee in bulk and make it at home most days.
There are a ton of interesting comments made on Wall Street site--good reading.