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Lawyer's Retirement Plan: What Retirement?

By Jonathan R. Tung, Esq. | Last updated on

According to a survey of more than 200 lawyers, approximately 29 percent of lawyers responded that they would simply work more in order to make up financial holes in their retirement plans. In other words, their retirement plan was to not retire.

Based on the results of the survey, one could probably infer that lawyer's responses changed based on the direction of the stock market.

Stock Market Woes

To those long-term investors who got into the market during 2015's sideways moves -- we feel your pain. We hope at least you were able to close your long positions before the indexes got slammed in late August.

Market sentiment of a looming crash has not done much to help lawyers and other professionals retirements accounts or fears.

No Help to Younger Attorneys

It seems that the law, more than possibly any other profession, likes to keep its grey at the temples. Past ALM Legal Intelligence studies suggest that rather than moving to warm climate during their sunset years, many older attorneys simply switch to other firms who aren't saddled with "mandatory retirement" in their hiring contracts.

Overall, the trend to force lawyers to retire at certain age caps has decreased over the years, and the retirement age has either stayed flat or even climbed at many firms. Since these partners demand a large piece of the perk pie, associates have to contend with crumbs for the time being.

Keep on Trucking

Martin Press of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida says that the "keep on working" option for many attorneys is a sound one. For attorneys, he offers a rule of thumb: if you're nearing retirement age (that used to be 65, but who knows anymore?), you should keep on working if you calculate that you can't live on 4-5 percent of your total assets a year. It looks like a lot of us will need to keep on working.

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