Staying Busy Trumps Financial Reasons for Postponing Retirement

June 29, 2011 ( - A growing number of American middle-class consumers expect to work well beyond traditional retirement age, according to the First Command Financial Behaviors Index.

Recent findings of the monthly survey reveal that 22% of middle-income people ages 25 to 70 plan to retire in their 70s, up from 14% a year ago.  When they do retire three-quarters of Americans say they are likely to consider working at least part time – half expecting to work 16 to 25 hours per week.  

While the survey does indicate financial considerations are part of the desire for post-retirement, part-time employment – middle-class consumers who have a financial plan through a financial planner are less likely than others to consider working part-time during retirement (69% versus 76%) – much of the interest in post-retirement employment is being driven by emotional motivations.  

When asked why they are likely to work during retirement, American consumers said they: 

  • Want to stay busy (69%); 
  • Want to stay intellectually engaged (58%); 
  • Need the extra income (49%); 
  • Want the sense of fulfillment they get from working (44%); 
  • Want to delay tapping into their retirement savings (31%); 
  • Want to continue receiving benefits (29%); and 
  • Want to keep the community aspect of the workplace (17%). 


“Money is important, but it’s only part of the story,” said Scott Spiker, CEO of First Command Financial Services, Inc., in a press release. “In this emerging vision of post-retirement, part-time work, consumers expect to retain the intellectual and emotional satisfaction they currently enjoy in their full-time careers.”