Americans Working Longer, Putting Off Retirement
Thursday, January 31, 2013 02:29 PM
By: Christiana Lilly
More Americans are working past the age of 65 for a variety of reasons and the numbers are expected to increase in the coming years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Last year 18.5 percent of Americans 65 and older were still punching time clocks, compared to a low of 10.8 percent in 1985, NBC's "TODAY" program reported Wednesday.
“It’s one of the most important changes in the labor force over the last generation,” Robert Johnson, director of The Urban Institute’s Program on Retirement Policy, told TODAY.
“The idea of retiring at age 62 . . . I think a lot of young people think that’s a quaint idea,” Johnson added.
Most Americans still retire at age 65 or before, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But many are working longer because they're healthy and want to put off tapping into Social Security or retirement plans for a little longer. Many also simply like their jobs and, in the case of successful business owners, may be reluctant to turn over the reins to someone else.
“When you’re talking with people older than 65, people are healthier and better educated and jobs are less physically demanding, and that makes it attractive to stay in the labor force,” Alicia Munnell, director of Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research, told TODAY.
And then there are those who don't have enough money to retire and have to work, basically until they can't. According to a report in USA Today, 13 percent of people 65 or older who delayed retirement in 2011 said it was because they couldn't afford to quit work.
The labor data also shows that the number of older women in the workplace has increased more than men. For those 65 and older, workforce participation among women has grown by 4 percent and just 3.2 percent for men, USA Today reported.
At the same time, the number of women 65 and younger in the workforce has increased as well by 1.9 percent, while the number of men in the same age group has decreased by 5.2 percent.