Many Americans Are Not Rushing to Retire, and It’s Clear Why

My Comments: From 1963, when I graduated from college, until I reached my 60’s, the prevailing assumption was that retirement started when you were 65. It was almost hard wired into how we approached this last phase of our lives, largely because for whatever reason, when Social Security began in the 1930’s, that’s when you became eligible for benefits.

Then people started living longer. And then people started realizing they didn’t have enough money set aside. So when Social Security moved the goal posts from 65 to 67 to get full benefits, the landscape got really confusing.

I suppose if I had tons of money coming in every month, I’d find more recreational things to do than I have now. Some of what I no longer do is for health reasons, but all excuses aside, I enjoy continuing my professional career, doing what I’ve done successfully for over 40 years.

I suspect many of the respondents referenced in this article are actually kidding themselves with some of their reasons for not retiring. In my experience, too many people simply don’t have enough money when they start to realize they may live into their 90’s.

They’re going to have a bumpy ride.

Tanze Loudenback \ October 1, 2019 \

Retirement isn’t quite what it used to be.

More seniors today are putting retirement off for both financial and personal reasons, according to a new survey from Provision Living, a network of senior living communities in the Midwest. The survey asked about 1,000 Americans over age 65 who have yet to retire about their motivations to continue working.

On average, the respondents don’t expect to retire fully until age 72. Over one-third of the seniors said they’re not financially prepared to retire yet, 23% are continuing to work to support their family, and 19% are doing it to pay off debt.

But it’s not just about the money for everyone. Nearly 40% of the respondents said they haven’t quit work entirely because they still enjoy it (45%), are trying to avoid boredom (18%), or don’t want to give up their workplace camaraderie just yet (6%), among other reasons. Those who switched to part-time work — just over half of the total respondents — said they did so around age 61.

In many ways, the long-held retirement benchmark of age 65 has grown obsolete. A previous analysis of US Census data by United Income, an investment and financial-planning firm, found that about 20% of Americans over age 65 — a total of 10.6 million people — are either working or looking for work, representing a 57-year high.

According to the Provision Living survey, the working seniors have an average of $133,108 saved for retirement. When broken down by education, college-degree holding respondents have more than twice as much saved ($169,180) as non-college educated individuals ($80,221). Still, the majority expect to rely on Social Security and pensions before tapping into their personal savings.

The earliest age a person can claim Social Security benefits is 62. But the full retirement age for most of today’s working-age Americans is between 66 and 67, when they can begin to claim the full amount of their benefit. For each year a person delays taking Social Security, however, their benefit will increase by up to 8% until age 70.

Interestingly, those staying in the workforce — regardless of when they claim Social Security — are the ones in the best financial shape for retirement, the United Income report said. Rather than being driven by money, some are motivated to keep working simply because they’re healthy enough.

But not all Americans have the good fortune of working well into their 60s and 70s. Often, health issues crop up and stifle job opportunities, forcing people into retirement with little savings to fall back on, reports Business Insider’s Liz Knueven. Downward social mobility in retirement is a mounting issue for many middle- and working-class Americans, she writes, and working longer isn’t the panacea many believe it to be.