I think we tend to forget that retirement is kind of a recent invention. Before the 1930s, there was n0 Social Security. Until then, you worked until you were no longer capable of labor. At that point, you were either dead or your family supported you. Cheery, eh?
For a relatively new idea, retirement sure caught on quickly. In under 80 years, it’s become accepted that just about everyone will retire and live on savings and/or Social Security.
But is that idea changing again?
This recession shook a lot of people to their financial cores. Houses and jobs were lost; investment values went subterranean. Some people raided retirement accounts — either before or during the bubble — and have to face those consequences. Others just decreased/stopped their retirement contributions. Even people who kept everything together suffered: When your portfolio plummets for several quarters, compound interest isn’t doing you a whole lot of good.
All this is on top of the fact that Americans were woefully under-preparing for retirement — even when times were good.
With all the financial carnage that’s occurred, will retirement even be plausible for current generations? Can people really make up for all this lost time?