Like every other contemporary trend, the many issues surrounding retirement today — especially its financial challenges — are now playing out in the world of internet memes.
Here are several memes that pinpoint the current mainstream American mindset about retirement and our ability (or lack thereof) to plan for the financial needs of old age…
While nursing home care may not be necessary for an iron-pumping granny like the woman in this meme, long-term care becomes an essential consideration once a retiree develops a chronic condition, suffers a physical trauma, or loses his or her ability to perform basic self-care tasks. According to 2013 statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 8 million Americans receive long-term care each year.
The idea that saving early and often is key to retirement happiness is more than contemporary wisdom. Recent research from American University indicated the average 50-year-old has less than $43,000 in retirement savings, yet the average retiree spends well over $100,000 on health care alone during 20 years of retirement.
Related: 17 unexpected expenses in retirement
There are good reasons to buy life insurance besides the death benefit for loved ones, including the fact that it can provide a source of retirement income.
Americans may simply be overconfident about how far their employer-sponsored retirement plan savings are going to go. According to an April 2015 article in Forbes, which is based on a study from the New School, nearly three out of four Americans are not saving enough for retirement.
One reason for the shortfall in American retirement savings may be that consumers simply don’t understand all of the financial tools available to them.
Related: 10 advantages of term life insurance
According to 2012 research from LIMRA, 85 percent of American consumers prioritize other expenses (such as their rent or mortgage) above their retirement savings.
Turning to a reverse mortgage for retirement income is generally a sign of financial stress.
There is a genuine need for qualified financial professionals who can offer consumers insightful estate planning, if for no other reason than the fact that laws and regulations related to this arena of finance are constantly in flux.
Even the cool kids are probably not “doing” retirement at age 65. The average retirement age in the United States has been creeping up for decades. By the time today’s (20- and 30-something) millennials retire, it’s anticipated that most of them will be around 73 years old.
Today’s baby boomers are not nearly as optimistic about being able to retire early as this meme featuring Captain Picard, or the fictional “Star Trek” character played by actor Patrick Stewart. The “Boomer Expectations for Retirement 2016” study released earlier this year by the Insured Retirement Institute revealed that at least a quarter of today’s Americans age 53 to 69 feel pessimistic about their retirement outlook, predominantly due to a lack of financial planning.
Early retirement is much more likely for people who live in Cambodia or Thailand, where the average retirement age is 50, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. On the other end of the spectrum, the United Kingdom has the oldest average retirement age, at 68. The United States is one of several countries where the average retirement age is 67.
To determine the best retirement planning products for a particular client, smart agents and advisors conduct a through, periodic policy review.
Contrary to the sentiment (fictionally) expressed by entertainer Justin Timberlake in this meme, many people in his millennial generation actually believe it’s more important to experience life to the fullest than spend money on life insurance or other retirement savings products.
If they believe the statisticians from New York Life, younger retirees might want to put off the early-to-bed regimen for later in life. That’s because the earlier years of retirement tend to be the best years, according to that company’s 2015 retirement insights study. What’s the very best year of retirement, according to those surveyed? The first year.
Related: 10 best cities to retire in the U.S.
Despite the fact that many baby boomers may choose to work past the average retirement age, or keep a job during their retirement, many others continue to face age discrimination in the workplace, according to AARP.
Increased longevity is another issue that’s throwing Americans off when it comes to adequately planning for retirement. At a minimum, today’s retirees must plan to fund life into their mid-90s.
Related: 9 factors that affect longevity
People who tend to be the most prepared for retirement have surveyed their savings options and invested in a variety of financial tools as opposed to a single employer plan.
Pet ownership may be key to a happy retirement. Some of the benefits of having an animal around during old age include they help battle human loneliness and stress, and they encourage exercise and a healthy daily routine.
Related: Estate planning for pets
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