Keeping a Job for the Retirement Plan

Would you turn down offers just to hang on to a good pension?

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Instead of golfing and sailing, you could be spending your golden years clipping coupons and hitting up early-bird specials, Washington Post business columnist Martha Hamilton reports this weekend. She writes:

"There's a good chance your retirement years could be accompanied by a drastic drop in your standard of living. The reason: Traditional pensions largely have been replaced by retirement savings plans."

I recently spoke with Harvey Sterns, director of the Institute for Life-Span Development and Gerontology at the University of Akron, about this topic for an upcoming article. He pointed out that only about 22 percent of people in the United States have a defined-benefit pension that guarantees income for life. As it happens, Sterns is one of them. "Some people . . . will work longer because they have no choice. I am 65 and still working full time because I want to," he says. "I made a deliberate choice to stay in Ohio so that I could have the state teachers' retirement. I turned down some other offers in my career."

Tell me, when contemplating a new job or career path, how much consideration do you give to the retirement plan?