The cost of retirement is the greatest expense most individuals will have in their lifetime. Planning for retirement is becoming more important as governments step back from providing old age pensions from taxation revenues and encourage individuals to save for the time when they leave the work force. Providing services based around retirement has become a significant industry as the amount of money channeled into savings grows and as individuals and companies look for advice on how and where to invest.
Many people will live for 20 to 30 years after they retire from work and they face the challenge of securing an income to meet lifestyle needs during that time. Changing government policies, particularly on how retirement savings are taxed, have also complicated the task of preparing for a comfortable life out of the workforce.
Retirement planning will change over a person’s life. It will not be a priority for younger workers who need to consider how much they should save for retirement when they are still forging careers and saving for education and to set up a home. Older workers have to consider the tax benefits of retirement savings plans and start preparing for their later years. Studies show people consistently underestimate the amount of money they will need for a comfortable retirement and some groups, such as casual workers and women who take time out of the workforce to rear children, find it hard to save enough for retirement.