The introduction to one of my recent MarketWatch RetireMentors columns, You Need a Plan to Retire Before You Plan to Retire, stated the following fact of which most people aren't aware:
"You're not going to retire when you plan on retiring. You're probably going to retire earlier."
The article cited results of two recent well-known and respected annual studies that demonstrated that there's a good chance that you will retire before you expect to do so.
The Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) Retirement Confidence Survey has consistently shown an increasing trend in the percentage of people retiring earlier than planned since 2007. Per the 2014 survey, 49% of people retired earlier than planned, 38% retired about when planned, and only 7% retired later than planned.