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Baby Boomers are Changing the Face of Retirement

Health and financial issues are making some Boomers rethink their retirement strategy

Many Baby Boomers are finding themselves unprepared as they aim headfirst for their retirement years. In fact, many aren’t even retiring at all, which brings a whole set of new challenges for this generation.

Just how many Boomers are still working?

As reported in a recent article on Bloomberg, almost 19% of people 65 or older were working at least part-time in the second quarter of 2017. The age group’s employment-to-population ratio hasn’t been higher in 55 years, before better healthcare and Social Security benefits starting in the late 1960s.

In fact, 32% of Americans 65 to 69 surveyed were still working. Even past age 70, a growing number of seniors are declining to, or unable to, retire. According to the study, 19% of 70- to 74-year-olds were working, up from 11% in 1994.

Why are Baby Boomers staying in the workforce?

Baby Boomers are staying in the workforce for two key reasons:

  • They are healthier and living longer than previous generations.
  • They need the money. Healthcare and general costs of living have skyrocketed, while wages have mostly remained stagnant. Continuing to work is the only way for many to get by.

Even after they’ve officially “retired,” many Boomers still plan to work a little bit. According to a survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, or EBRI, 79 % of U.S. workers expect to supplement their retirement income by working for pay. This can be part-time work, self-employment, or even consulting.

However, there’s a portion of the Boomer population that is having trouble finding work in their later years. For those who were forced to retire sooner than they’d planned (a full 61% of all retirees) due to health problems, finding quality work can be difficult. And though age discrimination is illegal, many employers still favor younger applicants.

Unprepared for retirement

Much research has been done here at the Center to show just how unprepared Millennials may be for retirement, but many Boomers are right there with them. According to a GoBankingRates study, 39% of the surveyed respondents age 55-64 claimed to have no retirement savings at all. An additional 14% reported less than $50,000 saved for retirement, showing that 64% of the older Americans in this survey lacked sufficient retirement funds.

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