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After years of long work, retirement is the ultimate reward. It represents more time to spend with family, travel, discover new hobbies and to relax. However, you might be surprised how much longer Americans are working nowadays. According to the Social Security Administration, the current age to receive full benefits is 66 years old (for those born in 1955) and many cities across the country have at least 20% or more of their senior population still in the workforce.
Since we know where seniors are still working, we were curious to find out the reasons why they are still in the workforce. In order to find out, we surveyed 1,000 seniors age 65 and older to ask them why they are putting off retirement.
According to respondents, part-time and full-time workers are nearly split down the middle with 55% saying they work part-time and 45% still working full-time. The average age that working seniors switched to part-time was 61. What’s more surprising is that one-third of working seniors say they enjoy working and do not wish that they were retired, while 20% said they’d like to continue working, but with fewer hours.
Many seniors say they find it difficult to keep up with the ever-changing and evolving workplace. Nearly half say that physical or mental limitations prevent them from completing tasks. Those limitations have led some seniors to become worrisome about losing their jobs. In fact, 36% say they are fearful of being laid off because of their age and 33% experience “ageism,” or stereotyping because of their age.
How much does the average working senior have saved up for retirement? According to respondents, the average retirement savings among seniors who are still working is $133,108. It’s slightly higher among college-educated seniors ($169,180) and lower for non-college-educated seniors ($80,221). However, most working seniors (70%) say that Social Security will be their primary source of income after retirement. Social Security was followed by pension (37%), 401K (37%), personal savings (27%) and stocks (20%) as the primary sources of income after retirement. And 11% are banking on their children or family to support them financially after they retire.
When it comes to the reasons why seniors are still working, more than 60% say that the decision is based on finances. Of those, 37% say they simply can’t afford to retire at the moment while 23% say they are staying in the workplace to support their family and 19% say they are still paying off debt. The remaining 38% say that the decision to keep working is a personal matter. Of those, 45% say they still enjoy working, 18% are working to avoid boredom and 6% say that their workplace provides invaluable camaraderie and they would feel too lonely if they stopped working.
So, what’s the outlook for seniors still in the workforce? Well, it appears they aren’t quite ready to leave their desks. According to respondents, the average age working seniors think they’ll retire won’t be until they’re 72.
From August 19 through August 23, 2019, we surveyed 1,032 people between the age of 65 and 85 who work either full-time or part-time. Of those respondents, 60% were male and 40% were female. The average age of respondents was 67 years old.
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