When thinking ahead to retirement and making plans for your future, it's important that you make realistic assessments of what life will be like in your senior years. Otherwise, you could end up with too little money saved and a whole lot of financial stress.

Unfortunately, many workers have plans for their retirement that are unlikely to pan out. And when they don't come to fruition, this can create a big problem. 

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Future retirees could find themselves with too little money because of this faulty assumption

A recent study from the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies showcased one huge flaw in the retirement plans many Americans are making. According to the research, 58% of current workers plan to work at least part time during retirement. And a total of 47% of all workers either plan to put off retirement until they're older than age 65 or don't ever plan to stop working. 

Sadly, if this is your solution for your senior years, you are probably going to find yourself in a world of financial trouble. That's because it is often not feasible to continue working after the age of 65. And it is definitely not realistic to expect that you can keep working forever. While many people hope to stay in the workforce for a long time because they are worried about having enough money saved to support themselves when paychecks stop, this is wishful thinking for the vast majority. 

The reality is that the mean age of retirement is 62. And the reason it is so young, despite the fact so many people want to keep working, is because holding down a job much beyond that becomes increasingly difficult.

There are myriad reasons why that's the case. For some people, health issues make it necessary to stop working. For others, it could be the need to care for a spouse, or even for their own aging parents who are at the end of their lives. And employment opportunities could also dry up so late in life as well. 

Since retiring may not be a choice, but rather something that you are pushed into, it's not a very good idea to plan to work late into your 60s or to assume that you'll be able to work indefinitely. If paychecks are the way you anticipate supporting yourself and those stop before you want them to, that will create a huge problem for you. 

How can you make a realistic retirement plan?

Instead of hoping that you are going to be one of the lucky few who is able to work until you're an octogenarian, it's far better to assume that you are going to have to stop working at 62 and make a financial plan to support yourself starting from that age.

This will likely mean you must step up your savings, both because you're going to rely on it to cover your costs for longer and also because you may have to claim Social Security sooner than anticipated. 

By assuming the worst and preparing financially for an earlier retirement, you can make sure you are financially secure even if it turns out you can't work. If you do happen to be lucky enough to keep a job for longer, then you'll just end up in an even better financial position than originally planned.