Working to Age 70 Still Not Enough for Many

August 30, 2012 ( - Working to age 70 will not guarantee adequate income in retirement for many, according to research from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI).

For approximately one-third of the households between the ages of 30 and 59 in 2007, working to age 70 will not be enough. Previous EBRI research indicated delaying retirement past age 65 does not ensure having adequate retirement savings (see “Delaying Retirement No Guarantee of Being Able to Afford Retirement”).  

The current research, using results from EBRI’s Retirement Security Projection Model, shows that nearly two-thirds (64%) of households ages 50 to 59 in 2007 would be considered “ready” for retirement at age 70, compared with 52% of those same households if they were to retire at age 65.   

Moreover, the research indicates that a worker’s participation status in a defined contribution (DC) retirement plan at age 65 will be extremely important due to the multiyear consequences for additional employee and employer contributions to the plan. Workers who remain DC participants at age 65 versus those not in one have a substantially improved retirement readiness rating even at age 65 (64% vs. 44%) because those households with members in participant status at age 65 would likely have already been in DC plans for a number of years with their current employers.  

“While workers need to make their own decisions on the correct trade-offs of saving today versus deferring retirement, they should be able to expect that those presenting alternatives be as accurate and complete as possible, avoiding simplistic ‘rules of thumb’ that may result in future retirees, through no fault of their own, coming up short,” Jack VanDerhei, EBRI research director and author of the report observed.

The full report, “Is Working to Age 70 Really the Answer for Retirement Income Adequacy?” is published in the August 2012 EBRI Notes online at