When will you retire? Maybe not as soon as you think

can you retire when you think you can?
can you retire when you think you can?

How old will you be when you retire? Will you be 55 or 60? Will you be 65 or 70? And is the number you've settled on today larger than the one you might have picked a year or three ago?

The market may have come roaring back -- as I write this, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is over 11,000, 68% higher than its March 2009 low. And many people who have continued to contribute to their retirement accounts have seen a return to 2007 levels. But the number of people who are planning to postpone retirement is up 24% in the past year, according to the Retirement Confidence Survey from the Employee Benefits Research Institute. The top two reasons? The poor economy (29%) and a change in employment (22%).

Retirement Expert Bill Losey, author of Retire In A Weekend, isn't surprised. He's heard those reasons -- and two other biggies from the clients he's helping transition into retirement. The first is that many people got "significantly more defensive in their investing in the last year so their portfolios are still 10% to 25% off their highs. They haven't participated to the extent that they would have if they had left well enough alone."