Boomers working longer

Yet another study shows what many of us already know – boomers aren’t retiring any time soon.

While the notion of receiving the company watch before departing into the happily-ever-after golden years may not have disappeared entirely, it is more likely to happen later in life.

A U.S. study found that the number of people still working in their mid- to late- sixties (65-69) increased from 19.6 per cent to 26.5 per cent over the past ten years. For people ages 55-64, 61.6 per cent were still working, compared with 54.2 per cent a decade ago.

The study, by the California Budget Project – a Sacramento nonprofit – based its analysis on the U.S. Census Bureau’s current population survey in which 50,000 to 60,000 households were interviewed.

So why are people working longer? Is it mainly a matter of want – or of necessity? The findings suggest both, according to Jean Ross, executive director of the organization.

The good news
People are healthier longer, the study found, which gives more people the option of remaining in the workforce. The number of 55- to 64-year-old Californians who reported being in fair or poor health was 17.9 per cent in 2004 – down from 26.6 per cent in 1982.

For many, continuing to work is a matter of choice. Nearly half of the workers age 55 to 59, and more than half of employees between 60 and 65, say they’re working to stay active and engaged.

The not-so-good news
Others reported that they had no option but to keep working. Citing too few financial resources to retire, people are staying in the workforce either in a full -or part-time capacity. Employment trends for older workers include an increase in home-based businesses and consulting work for past employers.

According to the study, two thirds of people aged 65 and older in the U.S. depended on Social Security for at least half their income in 2004 and more than a third depended on it for 90 percent of their income.

The new retirement in Canada
Similar to U.S. reports, the new retirement in Canada may, in fact, mean no retirement.

According to Statistics Canada, more than 300,000 Canadians 65 or older worked in 2001. Of these 57 per cent were 65-69; 26 per cent were 70-74; and 17 per cent were 75 or older.

And these numbers may be on the rise.

Current trends seem to indicate that early retirement just isn’t happening. The explanation, as reported by the CBC, is mostly to do with money, but not entirely. A recent TD Waterhouse study found that two-thirds of people polled who have not retired experience financial stress due to uncertainty or lack of money.

But the remaining third did not cite financial concerns as a reason for staying in the workforce past the traditional retirement age of 65 – but choice.

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