At 64 years old, Bob Mock has worked as a self-employed skating instructor for nearly 40 years, and he has no plans to slow down.
“I learned a long time ago, if you want a raise, you work harder or you work more,” said Mock, who works between six and seven days a week. “ That’s what I do.”
With no pension or corporate retirement plan to fall back on, Mock has been contributing to an SEP-IRA and a Roth IRA savings plan for the past four decades.
“I have a good financial program that I have set in motion for myself because there is no pension plan for skating coaches,” he said. “So you have to make sure that you are looking forward and making sure that you’re funding those accounts.
“I don’t need anybody to help me,” Mock said. “All I need is the opportunity to work, and I go. I make sure I have all my financial records, such as income taxes, organized. Each year I look at what I have to put into retirement and I just do it.
“Then I keep working, because that’s what I like to do.”
While previous generations could rely on pensions that provided a fixed monthly income for life, many baby boomers reaching retirement age realize the onus of funding retirement falls squarely on their own shoulders. Many also did not save as well as their parents did.
The stock market can be risky for those older than 60 who cannot afford to take heavy losses on money they need to live on. And those who have managed to squirrel away a few dollars in the bank are getting the lowest rate of interest on their savings in history. Even 10-year Treasury bonds are stuck around 2 percent. While yields could be headed higher this year, who knows if it will happen in time to help those who need to retire sooner rather than later?
Baby boomers — born from 1946 to 1964 — fall into two broad categories, said George Walper, president of Spectrem Group, a Chicago market and research consulting firm focused on the investment and retirement needs of consumers.
“Many are covered by pensions and, for those folks, retirement looks pretty good because they get a monthly check,” Walper said. “The other group has worked the latter part of their career with only a 401(k). If they weren’t contributing enough or didn’t invest well enough, they may be a little short for assets.
“We did some focus groups last year, and the happiest group of baby boomers were schoolteachers; city, county and state workers; and anybody else who was covered by pensions because they had pretty reasonable monthly income.”
Retirement assets have benefited from strong equity markets in recent years. After a strong stock market in 2013, assets at the end of that year — the most recent data available — had grown to $19 trillion, compared with $16.3 trillion at the end of 2012, according to Spectrem Group.
In 2013, there was $7.8 trillion in company 401(k) retirement plans; $6.2 trillion invested in IRAs; $3.9 trillion in public-sector retirement accounts; and $985.4 billion in 403(b) retirement plans.
But what about those who have been unable to save for whatever reasons?
According to the Washington, D.C.-based Pew Research Center, each day for the next 19 years, 10,000 baby boomers will turn 65.
Many of them will have no choice but to stay in the workforce as long as their health will allow.
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