Delayed retirement dreams for Hawaii's seniors

Published: May. 9, 2011 at 12:21 AM HST|Updated: May. 9, 2011 at 11:33 AM HST
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Roy Matsuo
Roy Matsuo
Barbara Kim Stanton
Barbara Kim Stanton

By Lisa Kubota - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Many people dream about retiring and enjoying their golden years, but a growing number of Hawaii seniors must work longer or come out of retirement just to make ends meet.

After a career as a federal contracting officer, Roy Matsuo, 62, retired last September.

"Just wanted to enjoy my life. Been working all my life, and also wanted to join my wife who was already retired," said the Kalihi Valley resident.

Matsuo carefully planned for his retirement, but now he is concerned about possible changes affecting pensions and other benefits for seniors.

"My ideal vision was to retire without having to worry about supplementing my retirement income, but that has changed dramatically, as I indicated, and there's a good possibility I may have to do some part-time work," Matsuo said.

Other senior citizens are putting off retirement plans, according to a new AARP Hawaii survey.

"Two out of three seniors told us that they would probably delay their retirement if the economy didn't get better, and about half of them said that they'd probably delay it about five years," said Barbara Kim Stanton, AARP Hawaii's state director.

About 20.7% of the state's private workforce was 55 years and older in 2010, according to Hawaii's Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. That is up 3.6% from 2006.

Laura Horigan, 75, is working part-time at an age when she thought she'd be relaxing.

"I thought I'd have much more money, be traveling, and all this, but hasn't happened," said the Moiliili resident.

"I think people are shocked to find out how much money they're going to need in retirement. On average, they're gonna need about 75% of what they have now," said Stanton.

For those on a fixed income, health care costs can quickly add up.

"If they don't have long-term care insurance, this is a really rude awakening when we tell them, that on average, the state cost for long-term care is about $115,000 a year, and as high as $131,000," said Stanton.

Experts encourage people of all ages to start saving now for a secure retirement.

"Start planning for being old when you're very, very young because you can't start early enough," said Honolulu resident Marilyn Yeager.

"Before you take that big step towards retirement, make sure you go in with your eyes open. Make sure you know the high cost of retirement and aging," Stanton said.

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