I love online polls, especially those that allow takers to comment. There's a certain feeling of anonymity when you are sitting all alone in front of your computer screen that tends to make many of us more open when voicing our opinions through our keyboards. (Of course that same feeling of privacy also can lead to misuse of Internet resources at work, as IT departments everywhere can attest.)
Yesterday, MSNBC.com's Newsvine featured a poll that asked, When do you plan to retire? As I write this, 50 percent of the 14,652 voters have indicated that they will retire by the age of 65—18 percent at 60 or before, and 32 percent by 65. Almost 22 percent said they planned to retire by the age of 70; 24 percent chose the answer: You"ve got to be kidding. Can people still afford to retire? The remaining four percent chose: Does being unemployed count as being retired?
The March 2009 issue of "Tube Talk" asked subscribers about their retirement plans. A quarter of respondents, like Tom from Tennessee, had retirement well within their sights. Tom said, "Last year the wife and I targeted May 30, 2009 for my retirement; she is already retired four years.
"We decided to downsize and found a newer, smaller home. We bought it and moved. The following month, things tanked.
"Now we own the new one free and clear, and the old one has a [six-figure] equity loan. Oh yes, my 401(k) took a major drop as well, approximately 30 percent, just like everyone else's.
"Fortunately, I was able to start my social security at the full amount; it is making the house payment, while I still work.
"Retirement may be postponed until the previous home sells. Once it sells, I am outta here."
I need to contact Tom to see if he met his May retirement target date, or if he"s had to revise it.
Other respondents said they are delaying retirement for various reasons. One who said he is the oldest senior maintenance technician among 22 techs taking care of 17 miles of automated conveyor and sorting systems, wrote, "I am 66, and due to current economic conditions, I will be working well into my 70s. To complicate things a little further I have a 20-year-old daughter going to school & and it's pretty expensive. I am certainly not going to deprive her of her education or possible lifelong opportunities just so I can retire.
"I also have a wonderful wife just laid off after 15 five years as a police dispatcher and 10 years as a reservist dispatcher for the same agency. This being the case I must also work to provide health insurance for my family. NO options as I can see.
"[I"m fortunate] that I really like to work, and there is no way I will quit as long as there is heat in my body. I will not disappoint or jeopardize my family's well being."
A welding consultant wrote, "To tell you the truth, I may never completely retire. Why? I love what I am doing in the industry that I care a great deal about. I have an uncle who is very wealthy and is 78 and he is still working.
"When I retired from teaching for 38 years, I went from an 80-hr-work week to 60. At least that is what I tell my friends. Being a consultant, I have the opportunity to schedule my customers as I see fit."
A reader who works for a company that services turbine engines wrote, "I was going to retire in November of 08, but my company enticed me to stay. I will be 63 this year and have been asked to stay until I"m 65. I'm glad I decided to stay with the way things are."
And how are things? In Economists: The Great Recession is over, but &, an article that prefaced the Newsvine vote, Senior MSNBC.com Producer, John Schoen, wrote about "a long list of problems that could weaken the recovery." These problems, which include "high levels of debt and trillions of dollars of lost home equity," also could delay retirement even longer for many who thought they might consider retirement once the recovery took hold.
I have a personal retirement age faintly penciled in. Maybe someday I can ink it in—hopefully before it's inked for me against my will.
May all your retirement plans come true.
Follow Vicki Bell, fabcomlady, on Twitter.