Survey: Many plan to delay retirement – voluntarily
Resource type: News
The Associated Press |
by David Pitt For medical office manager Sue Stein, working past the typical retirement age was a choice she made because she’s still having fun at her job and likes the lively banter with the young medical students around her. Stein, 69, is among the growing number of retirement-age Americans who have chosen work over leisure. “I enjoy it,” she said of her job at Stanford Hospital & Clinics in Palo Alto, Calif. “I also believe that it’s better to keep your mind active. I look around at friends that don’t work, and I have a much broader horizon, a bigger view of the world, more people in my world than they do.” A new survey conducted by the U.S. division of Toronto-based Sun Life Financial Inc. shows nearly half of the workers in the United States expect to be employed at age 67, but like Stein, most say it’s not just because of money. The random telephone survey of 1,515 workers indicated that 48 percent of them believe they will still be working either full or part time at age 67. The most cited reason among them – declared by 83 percent – was to stay mentally engaged. The second-most-common reason was to earn enough money to live well, cited by 77 percent of workers. Other top reasons for continuing to work into retirement age were love of career and staying close to people. Keeping health-care benefits was another commonly stated reason. The results show that retirement will likely be redefined by baby boomers, a generation known for rewriting the rules, said Bob Salipante, president of Sun Life Financial’s U.S. segment. “As they’ve gone through life, they’ve kind of changed the norm and changed the standards. Retirement won’t be any different,” Salipante said. “There are generational differences in boomer attitudes as far as being active and being involved.” He said retirement for them may mean starting another career, becoming involved in charity work or continuing part-time work. The company calls the survey the “Un-retirement Index,” because it focuses on trends involving workers remaining on the job longer. It defines “unretirement” as working at least 20 hours per week after 67, the age at which a U.S. worker born after Jan. 1, 1960, becomes eligible for full Social Security benefits. (Those born before that date have lower ages for eligibility for full retirement benefits.) When broken down by age, the survey shows that more younger workers have an expectation of retiring at 67 than their older counterparts. Fifty-eight percent of workers ages 30 to 39 believe they will be retired at 67, compared with only 45 percent of those age 60 and over. While the younger workers expect to retire, they also are more skeptical that Social Security will be there for them, with 63 percent of workers in that age group saying they believe the government entitlement program still will be available. The random telephone survey was conducted between Aug. 9 and Aug. 19 by Interviewing Service of America. The sample was representative of the U.S. working population between the ages of 30 and 66. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points. Given the choice, a large number of workers said they would reduce their spending and cut debt to improve their retirement prospects rather than try to increase their income or change their investment strategy. The survey shows 82 percent would reduce spending, while only 58 percent would alter their investments. Less than half – 46 percent – of all workers are very confident that they will have enough money to take care of basic living expenses when they reach retirement age, and only 28 percent are very confident that they will be able to take care of medical expenses, the survey indicated.