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As baby boomers are beginning to reach retirement age, many are ready to let go of the corporate life and retreat to the golf course. But as nice as that sounds, retirement often isn’t the reality.

In fact, 39 percent of employees plan to delay retirement, and of those employees age 50 and older, 46 percent expect to do so, according to the recent Retirement Attitudes Survey by Towers Watson, a global professional services company in New York City. Among the surveyed older workers planning to delay retirement, they anticipate working at least three more years while 28 percent expect to work an additional three to five years. Another 33 percent of surveyed older workers plan to work an additional five years or more.

What are the causes of postponed retirement?

Many retirement hurdles stem from the newer employer-sponsored retirement models that are based on a defined contribution plan, such as a 401(k), says Mark Davis, senior vice president of CAPTRUST Financial Advisors, a financial advising firm in Raleigh, N.C., and a member of the American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries. Past generations funded their retirements with defined benefit models, but baby boomers are the first population segment to experiment with defined contribution plans, which first showed up in the late 1970s and became prevalent in the 1980s. Given this newer model, there still are questions as to how effective defined contributions will be for lasting retirement.

“They’re funding retirement by setting aside their own money rather than relying on a third party, such as an employer, to pay for retirement. Those two things are colliding and have never really happened before. In large measure, there’s doubt as to whether it will happen effectively.”

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