I think retirement as people used to think about it is about dead. If you depend on someone else to take care of your future then you will probably be disappointed. Too bad for folks who are pushing 65 and have been depending on others. I think a lot of them were lulled into a feeling that they could retire without any worries. The economy has overall been good and people made a lot of money in the stock market and in real estate. I guess they thought it would be that way forever. Add to that the fact that people are living longer while the retirement age has not been rising as fast.
If you can come up with the wealth to retire at 65, or 55, or even 40, then by all means do it and enjoy yourself, but don't think of retirement as a right.
Here is a good rule:
Look out for number one.
In other words, you need to make the decisions on what will be best for you and your family. If you work for a company that has a retirement/savings plan then take a long, hard look at it and decide if it will give you the kind of living you want later in life. If you don't think it will, then do some investing on the side, or find another company, or do something to fix the situation. Complaining about it probably won't help. Please don't lobby congress to pass some new rule requiring my children to pay for your retirement.
Here is another good rule:
Don't put all your eggs in one basket.
This means don't have just one plan on how you will get by. Diversify your investments and diversify your sources of income.
Once again, I thought everyone knew that. I can remember my grandmother saying that many years ago. I remember my second grade school teacher saying that as well.
Here is one more rule:
Nothing is guaranteed.
Just because you put money into the companies stock doesn't mean you are guaranteed a good and easy retirement. The same goes for social security. Plan on those not being there and provide for yourself. If the company is still in business or social security pays you anything then it's gravy.
I hope the younger people in this country look at this situation and plan for their own retirement instead of planning to let someone else provide for them or just hoping it will be alright.