Americans born between 1946 and 1964 may have good ideas about how to stretch their retirement savings.[@@]

Many public policy experts assume that a high percentage of baby boomers will leave the work force entirely by the time they reach age 65.

But researchers at Merrill Lynch & Company Inc., New York, and Ken Dychtwald, a gerontologist who helped the Merrill Lynch researchers analyze results from a recent survey of 3,448 U.S. boomers, say the boomers themselves seem to have a much more flexible views about “retirement.”

Many boomers understand that they are “living younger longer” and hope to continue to work well past age 65, and that may mean boomers will not have to tap retirement savings until much later in their lives, according to Michael Falcon, chief operating officer at the Merrill Lynch retirement unit.

Dychtwald says boomers have transformed the way they look at time.

Although 17% of the boomer participants in the Merrill Lynch survey said they will never work again once they retire, 77% expect to work full-time, work part-time, start their own businesses or cycle between work and leisure, according to Merrill Lynch researchers.

Although 37% of the boomers said they will be working for the money, and 45% said they need the health insurance benefits, 67% said they want to work to keep mentally active. Another 48% said they want to continue to work to “keep connected with others.”