More than ever before, millions of near-retirees think that they won't be able to retire on their original schedule. But in making contingency plans, many of these near-retirees are making what could turn out to be a fatal mistake in assuming they have an option available to them that might not be around when they most need it.

In the following video, Dan Caplinger, The Motley Fool's director of investment planning, looks at a survey from Franklin Templeton about retirement prospects among U.S. workers. The survey found that 62% of those who expected not to retire on their original schedule would simply work longer and retire later. Yet Dan notes that this strategy ignores the very real risk that you won't be able to work as long as you want. The survey also found that almost a quarter of participants said that they didn't have the choice of when to retire. With layoffs, accidents, and other unpredictable factors potentially affecting your career length, your best option is still to save as much as you can while you're working to give yourself the flexibility to handle the unexpected.

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Dan Caplinger and The Motley Fool have no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.