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Retirement: Is 80 the New 65?

You know it’s serious when the millionaires start to panic.

Man on a yacht
Man on a yacht

It used to be that when a millionaire walked into his financial advisor’s office to talk about retirement, all he wanted to know was: Will I have enough money to maintain the yacht-and-caviar lifestyle to which I’ve grown accustomed?

Now, they’re worried about running out of money, according to a new survey by Phoenix High-Net-Worth Market Insights.

“The whole projection of what retirement means to them has changed,” said Walt Zultowski, senior vice president for research and concept development at Phoenix Companies.

Nearly half of the respondents — 49 percent — said they were either planning to retire at a later date than originally planned or they were thinking about it.

It’s largely due to two things: “Their retirement nest eggs have taken a hit,” and they are increasingly aware that “they might be one of the people who lives to — not just 80, but — 90, 95 or 100,” Zultowski explained.

As a result, most of them are going to wind up working in some capacity past the standard retirement age of 65, Zultowski said.

“Now, they may not fully retire until they’re 80,” he added.

Working past retirement isn’t a new concept, but what’s new is the reason: They used to continue working to stay sharp or keep busy. Now, it’s a necessity.

“They would rather continue working than adjust their lifestyle expectation,” Zultowski said.

Of course, that doesn’t mean they’re going to stay in their full-time executive positions until they’re 80. What’s more likely, Zultowski said, is that they’ll teach or do consulting work.

Millionaires of the late 1990s and early 2000s talked about making enough to retire early — now, that’s not even a question. Now, it’s about working after retirement.

A whopping 43 percent of millionaires said longevity planning — planning to live longer — was "very" or "extremely" important to them, according to the Phoenix survey, and another 33 percent said it was important.

But even millionaires procrastinate: Just 29 percent said they’d spoken to an advisor about longevity planning, while 34 percent said they planned to.

Zultowski said he thinks this shift is going to result in a cottage industry springing up: longevity products. Such investment products would include an insurance component. Something like a deferred-payout annuity, where payments don’t start until age 80 or 85.

So, don't worry your pretty little heads, millionaires. There are people who are on it to make sure that you will always be able to have your caviar — and eat it, too!

Now, if you'll just call your financial adviser, we'll be all set.

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Questions? Comments? Write to ponyblog@cnbc.com.

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