Half of older US workers delay retirement plans
APCHICAGO -- Older Americans, stung by a recession that sapped investments and home values, but expressing widespread job satisfaction, appear to have accepted the reality of a retirement that comes later in life and no longer represents a complete exit from the workforce.
October 15, 2013, 12:08 am TWN
Some 82 percent of working Americans over 50 say it is at least somewhat likely they will work for pay in retirement, according to a poll released Monday by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
The survey found 47 percent of working survey respondents now expect to retire later than they previously thought and, on average, plan to call it quits at about 66, or nearly three years later than their estimate when they were 40. Men, racial minorities, parents of minor children, those earning less than US$50,000 a year and those without health insurance were more likely to put off their plans.
About three-quarters of working respondents said they have given their retirement years some or a great deal of thought. When considering factors that are very or extremely important in their retirement decisions, 78 percent cited financial needs, 75 percent said health, 68 percent their ability to do their job and 67 percent said their need for employer benefits such as health insurance.
Graphic designer Tom Sadowski, 65, of Virginia, had expected to retire this year, but the recession caused his business to fail and his savings to take a hit. With four teenage daughters, he knew he had to put retirement off.
“At this age, my dad had already been retired 10 years and moved to Florida,” he said. “Times are different now for most people.”
The shift in retirement expectations coincides with a growing trend of later-life work. Labor force participation of seniors fell for a half-century after the advent of federal Social Security pensions, but began picking up in the late 1990s. Older adults are now the fastest-growing segment of the American workforce; people 55 and up are forecast to make up one-fourth of the civilian labor force in 2020.
That growth has paralleled a rising interest in retirements that are far more active than the old stereotype of moving to Florida, never to work again. Among those who retired, 4 percent are looking for a job and 11 percent are already working again. Those still on the job showed far greater interest in continuing to work: Some 47 percent of employed survey respondents said they are very or extremely likely to do some work for pay in retirement, and 35 percent said they are somewhat likely.