Older Workers Want, Need to Keep Working

September 23, 2002 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Older Americans not only want to keep working after their retirement, but many admit they will need to do so to keep sufficient cash flowing and maintain good pension benefits, a survey found.

More than three-quarters (76%) of the older workers questioned in a new AARP poll said the fact that they “enjoy the job” or “enjoy working” is a “major factor” in their decision to be working right now, the same percentage which said that need for money is a major factor.

The survey also showed seven in ten of those interviewed plan to work in retirement. More than a third (34%) said they would work part-time for interest or enjoyment, 19% said they would work part-time for needed income, 10% would go into business for themselves, and 6% would work “full-time doing something else”.

Money Matters

Those interviewed seemed conflicted over how big a role money played in their decision to remain in the workforce. A majority (58%) said that economic need is the “one major factor” why they work, but, at the same time, an overwhelming number (84%) said that they would continue working if “they won the lottery and were financially set for the rest of their lives.”

Less than a third (28%) of the whole sample said they would not work at all, the poll found. The survey involved 1,500 employed workers aged 45 to 74.

The workers were generally upbeat about their individual job prospects, but a large percentage (67%) believes that age discrimination is a fact of life in the workplace.

This perception is even higher among blacks (72%) and Hispanics (69%). Age is viewed as so critical to employees that it was listed as more important — along with education — in how workers are treated than gender, race, sexual orientation or religion.

In choosing to go with or remain working at a particular employer, the poll found that participants focused on both soft benefits such as adequate time off (86%) and flexible schedules (76%), as well as hard benefits such as health care benefits/insurance (84 %) and good pension benefits (76%), as “absolutely essential parts of their ideal jobs.”
The AARP survey was conducted in May and June of this year.