Economic Slowdown Delaying Retirement

When most people think of their retirement years, they picture themselves traveling, relaxing and enjoying hobbies they had less time for when they worked--or even finding some new hobbies.

But, with the U.S. economy floundering as it is, many people are putting such plans on hold.

"As the economy slows and prices rise, most middle-aged and older respondents report that they are having difficulty paying for food, gas, utilities, and medicine, and are responding to the situation by cutting luxuries and postponing major purchases and travel," according to a recent study by the AARP.

Some people are even postponing retirement itself. 27 percent of American workers aged 45 or older have postponed their plans to retire in response to the economy, according to the study.

Even more troubling is that one in four have trouble paying their mortgage and rent, and that one in three have stopped putting any money into their retirement accounts. And nearly one in four--23 percent--have prematurely withdrawn funds from their 401(k) or IRA.

But, with costs rising as they are, many people simply have fewer dollars to save. Making ends meet is tough for many, with the costs for necessities rising as they are. "Majorities are having trouble paying for essential items such as food, gas and medicine or utilities such as heating, cooling and phone service," according to the study.

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