hourglass hold buttonA retirement can be put on hold for many reasons, and the length of the delay can, in many cases, be dramatic. As Marlene Y. Satter writes in an eye-opening benefitspro.com piece, financial disruptions “are forcing people to put off the day they quit work until 68, a delay of five years.” She continues:

“TD Ameritrade’s 2015 Financial Disruptions Survey is full of cheery news like that, looking at how such life events as illness, divorce and unemployment throw retirement plans into disarray. What will come as no surprise to many is that some of these events exert such force that not only must retirement be postponed for years, it sometimes never occurs at all.

“The two-thirds of survey respondents who have experienced one or more of these financial disruptions were planning on kissing the workplace goodbye at age 63. However, once their finances were overset, so were their retirement plans. Forty-four percent of those who experienced a disruption said they were not prepared to deal with the financial consequences of what life flung at them.

“Of the 34 percent who now expect to retire later than originally planned, 68 is the new 63 — adding a full five years to their working lives. The majority of those who were divorced, separated or widowed (58 percent) were not prepared for the financial disruption that came along with the change in their lives.

“Forty percent believe that the recession hurt their ability to rebuild their financial lives. And, perhaps most telling, only one out of five believes they have managed to recover financially.

“Financial disruptions not only skewed retirement plans, they forced Americans to change how they approached the handling of money.

“While 46 percent said the disrupting event had a major impact on their retirement plans, especially if the event was either illness or job loss, 32 percent have pushed themselves to save or invest more in the wake of the event.