Workers Postpone Retirement Plans

December 27, 2001 ( - The performance of the stock market this year has left 401(k) balances substantially thinner than they were during the tech boom, causing those close to retirement to postpone their golden years for just a little longer, according to anecdotal evidence from consultants.

“A large portion of overall retirement net worth” is now contained in defined contribution plans,” says Valerie Paganelli from Watson Wyatt Worldwide, “and workers tend to retire only after their assets reach certain trigger points in value.”

Employees receiving their 401(k) statements for the third quarter in October experienced a kind of sticker shock as they saw their overall assets decimated.

Employees closest to retirement are the ones most in a quandary about how to react to these developments. Some employers have reported “people trying to take back retirement applications,” says Anna Rappaport of William M. Mercer.

Reports also are surfacing that some recent retirees have returned to work or are seeking to do so because their retirement nest eggs have declined sharply and can no longer provide the level of support they had envisioned before they quit working.

Read the full story at Hanging In .