Retirement a Distant Dream for More and More Americans

Retirement a Distant Dream for More and More Americans

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The idea of retiring at age 62 is out the window for many Americans, especially those who found themselves without a job during the recession.
"There's a feeling of 'I will have to work forever.'"
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The idea of retiring at age 62 is out the window for many Americans, especially those who found themselves without a job during the recession.

According to a recent AP poll, 82 percent of Americans over age 50 expect to work in some capacity during their retirement.

But for many who are unemployed or spent a great amount of time without a job, retirement isn't even on the horizon.

Chris Cannon's booming voice graced the radio airwaves of Springfield for two decades, but his mic was switched off 14 months ago.

"I was let go due to budget cuts, one of four people," Cannon said, "When it happened to me it kind of came out of the blue."

So Cannon joined 11 million Americans on the job hunt.

"It can be tough sometimes. You don't get an email, you're going, I'm qualified for the job and nothing happens," he said.

As for retirement, that's not even on the table.

Cannon has to get a job before he can think about retiring from it.

And being out of work, he burned through his savings.

"There was a period of time I had to pull money out of my 401(k) now my 401(k) is gone," he said.

Ron Reed was out of work for 18 months after being laid off during a plant closure.

"I thought I'd retire there," he said.

He had to use his savings to pay bills during that time.

Meaning Reed, along with millions of Americans, saw his retirement funds wiped clean during the recession.

"I don't know to this day when I'm going to retire. My plan was to retire at 62 because I had the income to do it and the savings, but that's all gone and I'll probably have to work longer," Reed said.

Psychologist Kathy LeMon said this age of the "un-retirement" is taking an emotional toll on the generation.

"Unless there has been a lot of preparation ahead of time for money being placed aside, there's a feeling of 'I will have to work forever,'" she said.

She frequently sees patients who are in this situation, especially in the last five years.

"They are feeling the unknown," she said, "As to how much longer do I have to live and then how much longer do I have to work?"

Sociologist Lisa Hall studies aging at Missouri State University.

She said people are living longer, one reason retirement is being pushed to later in life.

"When social security was implemented life expectancy was about 65 years old," she said.

Sometimes "un-retirement" is a choice.

"They want to continue to work because they are able to work and of course we know that's a big part of identity," she said.

But for those like Cannon and Reed, it's a necessity.
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