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A Note on the Future of Retirement

  Whitney Daly     Mar 25, 2015

More than ever, people are concerned about their retirement—up over 144 percent from 40 years ago. Will the money be there when I need it? Will I have enough? These are all questions employees are asking; many of them worried they’ll never be able to retire.

Only about half of workers, according to a recent Brookings article, benefit from an employer-provided retirement plan, but unlike 40 years ago, there has been a dramatic shift away from pensions toward smaller savings plans.

So what does the future of retirement look like? The government is working to facilitate more recognizable retirement options like annuities and defined-benefit pensions. Washington has also announced plans for a voluntary savings plan for those currently without, and some states are working toward providing additional low-fee retirement plans for companies.

Continued uncertainty about retirement likely means the workforce will be retiring later. The average age of retirement has already risen to 61 from 57 (20 years ago), according to a 2013 Gallup survey, and the average working American plans to retire at age 66, up from 60 in 1995. 

So what about economic development? Would you say our industry is on par with the rest of America? Do we exist in a fiscally sound environment where retirement could come earlier, or is our industry one where longevity in working years is encouraged?

One thing we can all agree on in economic development is that despite one man or woman’s time in the workplace, the facilitation of a community’s livelihood will remain a constant. It’s crucial that economic development professionals put into place practices that continually promote and drive awareness to the cities, counties, states, and regions where we live, work, and play. 

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Written by Whitney Daly

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