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Ask the Experts

What Are My Odds of a Flush Retirement?

The longer you work, the more money you'll have

Q. What are my odds of retiring with enough income to carry me through if I wait until I'm 67 or even 70 to retire?

A. It depends on many factors, including how much you've saved. A recent study by the nonprofit Employee Benefit Research Institute found that even if boomers delayed their retirement past 65, many would still not have adequate income for basic expenses and health care costs not covered by Medicare.

See also: Adequate income for older workers.

Ants carrying leaves. Odds of a deferred flush retirement.

Financial security at retirement depends on how much you've saved, too. — Photo by Tim Flach/Getty Images

However, the likelihood of having enough income improves significantly when workers wait until their 70s and early 80s to leave their jobs, the study found. Not much surprise there — such workers will have fewer years to fund. But even at these late ages, there's no guarantee of being financially flush.

In addition, the study concluded that workers increase their chances of living comfortably by 10 percent if they continue to contribute to a 401(k) plan after the age of 65.

Experts say retirees have the best chance of financial security if they manage to create a so-called three-legged stool — employer-sponsored retirement plan such as a pension or 401(k), adequate personal savings and Social Security.

Also of interest: Do the math for retirement. >>

Carole Fleck is a senior editor at the AARP Bulletin.

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