When it comes to retirement planning, however, don't rely on the idea that you'll continue working. Events like a layoff or health problems — yours, or a family member's — could push you out of the workforce sooner than expected, said certified financial planner Mark LaSpisa, president of Vermillion Financial Advisors in South Barrington, Illinois.
"There's a little misnomer that we all get to pick when we retire," he said. "Most people don't. Therefore, they need to plan for the unexpected."
That might mean having some sense of how your retirement income would change if you were to retire sooner than expected, said LaSpisa. Look for ways to save more now or reduce your cost of living so that working longer is less of a key element in the plan.
Workers may also need to reconsider how they juggle retirement with other big financial decisions like paying for a child's college education, he said. It might be better to focus on preserving and growing your own savings with the aim of helping your child with loans later, than to curtail retirement savings in favor of paying tuition.
It's also important to take some preventive measures to improve the chances that you'll be able to work as long as you like, said Collinson — for example, staying healthy and keeping your job skills up to date. In the survey, just half of workers said they were taking the proactive step of performing well at their current job and 42 percent were keeping their job skills up to date, rates she called "alarmingly low."
"The key to success at any job — past, present or future — is ensuring that you are performing well," Collinson said.