Jet skiing, sky diving, snorkeling… Most people would agree that these are not activities typically associated with retirement.
But why not? These days Americans are living longer, which means they usually have many more years to live as retirees — thanks in part to medical advancements and to people paying closer attention to their own health and fitness. And if you’re a public employee, your retirement years can begin much sooner than workers in the private sector (see Is it Possible to Retire Young?).
Some of the reasons many people don’t associate sky diving, jet skiing and similar activities with retirement are because traditional retirees, for the most part, are seen as volunteers, gardeners, babysitters, etc. Even those who travel are rarely viewed as risk takers. But many of today’s retirees enjoy traveling and are enjoying a more active retirement. To do so, however, working Americans need to save.
So why aren’t more working Americans saving for retirement? More specifically, why aren’t Americans saving in their employers’ retirement plans? According to this article, Americans are saving, but not in their employer-sponsored plans where they can defer taxes until they withdraw the money in retirement. And for those whose employers offer a matching contribution, they can have “free” money added to their savings.
Of course, if you’re living longer in retirement, it could mean higher health care costs. (Even more reason to save early.) But if you’re in relatively good health and getting regular check-ups, as you should, then you can enjoy a more active retirement lifestyle.
Start saving today and when the time comes you too can rev up your jet ski!