Fifty-nine percent of the first Baby Boomers to turn 65 are
at least partially retired.
|Illustration by Lars Leetaru|
According to “Transitioning into Retirement: The MetLife
Study of Baby Boomers at 65,” 45% of Boomers are completely retired and 14% are
retired but working part time. Of those still working, 37% say they will retire
in the next year and, on average, plan to do so by the time they are 68.
Half (51%) of those who are retired say they stopped working
earlier than they had expected. Of those who retired early, four in 10 mention
health reasons. The majority (85%) of respondents consider themselves healthy,
and almost all (96%) say they like retirement “at least somewhat.” Seventy
percent say they like retirement “a lot.”
Almost two-thirds, 63% of respondents, are already
collecting Social Security benefits and, on average, began to at the age of 63,
defying the conventional wisdom that people would choose to wait to receive
benefits until a later age to qualify for a higher payout. Among those in the
survey, just over 60% are confident that the Social Security system will be
able to provide adequate benefits for their lifetime.
The data shows that 43% of those polled are optimistic about
the future. Of the 19% who are pessimistic about what lies ahead, 49% fault the
government and 21% blame the economy.
The 65-year-old Boomers do not consider themselves old and,
on average, will not do so until they reach age 79, a year older than reported
“Many of the Boomers weathered the recession well and have
been able to stop working,” said Sandra Timmermann, Ed.D., director of the
MetLife Mature Market Institute. “Half of all Boomers feel confident that they
are on track or have already hit their retirement goals. We found that more are
homeowners today than in 2008, that the value of their homes decreased by only
about 5.2% on average, that the majority feel they are in good health and that
83% have grandchildren. Overall, it is a pretty confident group of Americans.”
Specific survey findings include: The average retirement age
for the 1946 Boomers is 59.7 for men and 57.2 for women; 25% have a living
parent; 84% are parents; 83% are grandparents, up from 77% in 2008; of those
not retired, 61% plan to retire at the same age they planned to one year ago;
31% of 65-year-old Boomers think they were at their sharpest, mentally, in
their 40s; only 20% say they are at their sharpest today; homeownership
increased significantly among the studied cohort since 2008, from 85% to 93%;
and 71% are married or in a domestic partnership; 12% are divorced or
separated; 10% are widowed and 7% are single.
“Transitioning into Retirement: The MetLife Study of Baby
Boomers at 65” was conducted by GfK Custom Research North America on behalf of
the MetLife Mature Market Institute, in November 2011. A total of 1,012
respondents born in 1946 were surveyed by random digit-dial telephone contact.