Retirement Trends Shifting in America

More and more people plan to stay in the work force past age 65, and many cite effects of the Great Recession for causing them to fall behind on retirement savings. 

The familiar narrative of retirement in the United States could be re-written as more people find themselves in the workforce past the traditional departure age of 65.

A recent survey by USA Today and Ipsos reports that nearly one-third of Americans ages 45 to 65 said they plan to delay retirement past the traditional benchmark. Twenty-two percent said they plan to exit the workforce between the ages of 66 and 70. Seven percent said they plan to do it within their early 70s, and 3% said they plan to call it quits after the age of 75. Moreover, 8% said they don’t plan to retire at all.

And the Great Recession only added to what seemed like a perfect storm of financial calamities. Researchers note that “Bouts of unemployment, the housing crash, aid provided to distressed family members and mountains of student debt are some of the factors that respondents say are making it tough to save enough for retirement.”

According to the survey, nearly one-third cited unemployment as a major reason for falling behind on savings. They placed similar blame on mortgages (39%), medical issues (48%), helping family members (37%), and paying debt (44%).

However, at least 61% of those surveyed say they’re somewhat or very confident they’ll have enough money for living expenses, health care, housing, travel and other expenses in retirement. But after researchers crunched the numbers, the future did not seem so bright. Fifty-four percent say they’ll need more than $500,000 to live comfortably. But 30% have no retirement savings. And of those that do, 30% have less than $100,000, while 34% have between $100,000 and $500,000.

Of those who said they plan to work after retiring, more than half (65%) said they will need to supplement their income, though many point to other reasons as well, such as wanting to keep busy and stay socially engaged.

The future may hold more opportunity for those that need it. Researchers point out that employers are growing more accustomed to hiring consultants and other temporary workers to complete projects as opposed to bringing on full-time staff. This may allow older workers to find lower-level, yet decently-compensated, employment in fields they are already experienced in.

Respondents also listed more fun things they want to do in retirement. Fifty-five percent said they want to travel, and 52% said they would spend more time with family.