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Why Older Workers Do What They Do

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Psychology plays an important role in determining when American workers decide to retire.

Researchers at LIMRA International, Windsor, Conn., have published analyses of older workers’ retirement planning efforts in a review of results from a survey of 3,393 retirees and pre-retirees with at least $50,000 in investable assets.

When the researchers asked retirees why they retired when they did, only 39% said health problems were either a major reason or a minor reason, and only 17% said they were forced to take early retirement.

About 68% said they retired because they were “financially able to,” and 58% said they wanted to get away from the stress of the job, the researchers report.

Another 48% said they were “tired and no longer wanted to work.”

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Only 21% of the retired participants said they had talked to a lawyer, a life insurance agent or a bank representative about when to retire.

Roughly 35% said they talked to financial planners or financial advisors, and 25% said they got advice about when to retire from employee benefits personnel.

When LIMRA surveyed “retirees” who continue to work only 5% said they “need the benefits,” and only 27% said they “need the extra money to pay bills.”

More than 60% of the working retirees said they work to stay active mentally, to stay busy, or simply to do work that they enjoy, the LIMRA researchers report.