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Should I delay my retirement?

Maybe. Lots of people should seriously consider it. Hanging on at work for even one more year can be a great boost to your long-term security, especially if you are about to retire when the markets are inconveniently in a swoon.

Say you have $1 million in a tax-deferred account, split evenly between stocks and bonds, when you retire at age 65. If you withdraw 4% plus an inflation adjustment every year, in 30 years you will likely still have $636,200 left after taxes. But if the market happens to tank early in that withdrawal period, the outlook gets riskier - there's a one-in-four chance that you'll run out of money before year 30.

If you work just one year longer, though, the projections are far better. And by working three years longer you'd typically end up with $1.2 million after 30 years - and have just a 1-in-20 chance of running out of money.

Every year that you are able to earn enough money to live on allows you to leave your retirement egg untouched for another year - leaving you more money when you finally do stop working. To top of page

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