Why Retirees Change Retirement Plans

Retirees change retirement plans
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Smart retirees accept changes to their retirement plans

Congratulations if you have thoughtfully put together a realistic retirement plan. However, life has a way of changing your straight lanes into winding paths, resulting in retirees changing their retirement plans to reflect new circumstances. 

Expectations vs Reality  

Fewer than 1 in 4 (24%) of respondents scored their current life in retirement as highly aligned with how they expected or planned for their life in retirement to be according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute’s (EBRI’s) Spending in Retirement Survey. 

According to the Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement (CPS ASEC), the average annual expenses for adults 65 and older are $48,872. 

Retirement income statistics, quoted by CNBC, from April 2022 quote an average of $1,666 in monthly Social Security benefits. That’s just under $20,000 per year. With $20,000 from Social Security and annual expenses of $48,872, you could easily be $30,000 short of funds per year. 

If you’re expecting Social Security to support you in your retirement years, you’ll need to change retirement plans. 

Part-time work 

To make up the gap, you can consider part-time work. A 2021 Gallup poll found that more than about 75% of workers expect to rely on part-time work as a source of retirement income. It’s a great plan, but interestingly, 85% of actual retirees say part-time work is not a source of income at all. 

Unfortunately, one reason is that many employers are not generally looking to hire older people. A study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that workers over age 40 are only about half as likely to get a job offer as younger workers if employers know their age. 

The main reason is that employers are trying to cut costs. They can do this by hiring younger workers who have less experience and lower compensation expectations. Additionally, they can outsource jobs to smaller towns that generally pay less than urban centers. Or hire in countries where the wages are even lower.  

Significantly, employers who are legally bound to provide health insurance may avoid hiring older workers because of their increased utilization of healthcare.  

Finally, seniors who are no longer climbing the career ladder may have limited enthusiasm. 


Markedly, even if you are lucky enough to get a part-time job, you may not be in the position to keep it. People are living longer, but not necessarily adding healthy years to their lives. Subsequently, more people are forced or expected to become full- to part-time caregivers for their elders or spouses. More than half (54%) of family caregivers are age 50 or older. Subsequently, retirees may have to change retirement plans.

Someone caring for a spouse spends more than 30 hours a week directly caring for their loved one and is less likely to get help from relatives or friends, according to a Caregiving.org report. 

Ninety-nine percent of family caregivers provide help with instrumental activities of daily living (IADL), including: 

  • 80% of family caregivers provide transportation assistance 
  • 79% provide assistance with grocery shopping 
  • 76% help with housework 
  • 64% help with meal preparation 

In addition to these duties being time-consuming, they can also be exhausting. Obviously, seniors usually don’t have limitless energy, so providing unpaid care can easily take the place of an income-producing job. 


In case you don’t have a person in your life who needs your help, you may be the person who needs it. Here’s some food for thought from a survey by Cross Country Workforce Solutions Group. 

Of those aged 50 years or older: 

  • 70% would prefer in-home care
  • 66% of respondents said they have thought about their future healthcare needs
  • However, just 9% said they are actively looking into it
  • 34% said they haven’t thought about it at all

In addition to time and ability, retirees must consider costs. If you don’t have free help, you’ll need to pay for it. Using a 3% average inflation rate, the cost of homemaker services for retirees in 2030 is expected to be $77,618 per year. A home health aide runs $80,604 per year. 

Equally important, as they age, 7 out of 10 people will require long term care in their lifetime. According to Genworth, if you plan to reside in an assisted living facility, expect to pay $70,458 per year in 2030. The cost of a shared room in a nursing home is expected to be about $141,444. 

You may need to consider where the healthcare money will come from, or commit to saving more, as a change to retirement plans. 


Where do you visualize living in retirement? Eventually, as you age, different aspects of life take on more value than others. Although you may think you want to be on a tropical beach, once those grandchildren show up, moving away from them may be the last thing you want to do. 

Likewise, the tropical beach may not offer the healthcare, doctors, tests, and treatments you need close by to feel secure. 

Although your plan may be to age in place, in your home in one of the northern states, you may find that cold weather, ice and snow, and treacherous driving conditions affect you more than they used to. The same can be said about areas of repeated flooding, tornadoes, wildfires, or high temperatures. 

Divorce or death of spouse 

If you find yourself living alone after divorce, you’ve probably had to split up your assets. The cost of living is quite a bit higher for singles than for couples, due to paying for all of the rent, utilities, insurance, etc., with one income instead of two. 

National and World economy 

Current retirees can tell you that the high inflation of 2022 significantly impacted their budgets. When they made their budgets for daily expenses, they didn’t allow for the prices we see today. Undeniably, for many, this has caused them to change retirement plans.

The 2022 Nationwide In-Plan Lifetime Income Survey found that 40% of workers age 45 and older are delaying their retirement because of rising living costs—double those who said they delayed retirement because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The inflation situation lowered people’s positive outlook on their retirement plan and retirement investments from 72% to 58%. 

Don’t forget to plan for the good things 

Sure, you must be realistic about rising costs, health concerns, earning potential, and all the realities of life. But retirement also gives you the chance to do what you want with at least part of your time. 

Plan to pursue an interest you’ve never had time for. Travel, if that’s your passion. Read all the books you never got around to. Take the time to create healthy meals, if cooking is your thing. 

And, most importantly, plan to be the person you want to be. Your identity is probably no longer tied to a job or a position. So, without that, who do you want to be? 

To borrow from Forbes contributor Andrew Rosen, “Retirees that seem the happiest are those retiring to something and not from something.” 



The views expressed in this article are not to be construed as personal advice. You should contact a qualified and ideally regulated adviser in order to obtain up-to-date personal advice with regard to your own personal circumstances. If you do not then you are acting under your own authority and deemed “execution only”. The author does not accept any liability for people acting without personalised advice, who base a decision on views expressed in this generic article. Where this article is dated then it is based on legislation as of the date. Legislation changes but articles are rarely updated, although sometimes a new article is written; so, please check for later articles or changes in legislation on official government websites, as this article should not be relied on in isolation. 



Susan Austin

Susan Austin is a freelance writer living in Prague, Czech Republic. Originally from the U.S., she has written and worked in many industries, including healthcare, transportation, travel and leisure, museums, education, and archaeology.

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