Now at age 50, my retirement seems further off than it did at 45.

As the economy continues to sputter, on-time retirement seems a distant reality. (MIKE BLAKE/REUTERS)

However, the volatility of the national economy has taken a bite out of demand. The last five years have been a washout. Little or no progress has been made by staffing companies — and my family 401(k) deposits, IRAs and real estate assets continue to be punished by bubble bursts, recession, extended periods of low savings interest rates and global slowdown.

 Early retirement, sometime between 60 and 65, is probably not realistic. But I still use 65 as my ideal benchmark retirement age. I want to have a good time when I retire. Fortunately, a lot of the outdoor activities I enjoy are free or close to it.

 As a business owner and entrepreneur, I know I won’t get terminated or laid off. But as I attempt to protect the capital in the company, I may have to work “for free” — as I have intermittently over the past few years.  Being a business owner is both challenging and rewarding. It has been challenging for some time.

 I am confident our business will boom again when things become more certain, the bubbles have cleared, growth returns and confidence is restored. If all the elections go my way, I am looking for an improvement next year.

 Ted Kissel is president and CEO of UNITEMP Temporary Personnel, a staffing firm based in Hackensack, N.J.