After spending much of your career planning for, and dreaming about retirement, you’ve finally hit the home stretch. Retirement is just around the corner and you’re getting excited. Hopefully, there won’t be any surprises, but checking on the status of other people’s retirements can help you prepare. These statistics can clue you in on what to expect.

The average age of retirement in the United States is 66. Since the average lifespan is 78.7 years, that means the average retirement will last a bit more than 12 years.

Of course, it’s always a good idea to remember that averages don’t reflect reality for all of us. If you’re very healthy and your parents lived long lives, chances are good that you need to plan for much longer than 12 years of retirement income.

Luckily, 81 percent of seniors are heeding that warning. They’re shifting assets and preparing for a longer retirement by maximizing retirement plan contributions, reducing their cost of living, and purchasing secured life insurance policies.

On the other hand… some are retiring early. Of Americans in their forties, 46 percent of them have taken money out of their retirement plans. Since doing so usually incurs financial penalties and lost interest over time, early withdrawals are generally looked upon in a negative light by financial experts. Making this mistake can set you back years with regard to retirement readiness.

Some don’t have a retirement plan at all. An alarming 33 percent of working Americans don’t have a retirement plan at all. If they’re counting on Social Security, we can see at least two major flaws in that plan: First, Social Security was never intended to fund retirement, but only serves as supplemental income. Second, Social Security benefits are based upon earnings throughout your career. If you earned less, your checks will be smaller than those of retirees with more significant earnings records.

Even those who are saving might not be saving enough. Of the 77 percent of Americans who are saving for retirement, the median retirement account is worth about $107,000. That sounds like a lot of money, but would amount to about $310 monthly if invested into an inflation-protected annuity.

You can’t always count on the ideal timing. Fifty percent of current retirees report that they were forced into retirement earlier than they had planned. Unexpected financial circumstances, layoffs, illness, caregiving, and other situations can happen to anyone.

Yes, some of these statistics sound alarming, but preparation is key to preventing or handling unfortunate situations. If you have concerns about your retirement plan, let’s schedule a meeting to discuss the various safeguards and backup plans that are available to you.