“The Unretirement Index, after polling American workers in August 2008, polled them again in December,” said David Jacobson, associate director with Sun Life Financial. “As a result, the latest findings are the first to measure how American attitudes and expectations of retirement have changed since the economic crisis last fall.”
The Index, released several times each year, gauges how economic, financial, and societal forces affect working Americans, and forecasts their future retirement decisions which will have an impact on individuals, the government, employers, and the broader economy. “The last few months have been so extraordinary, we had to go back and check on people’s attitudes,” Jacobson explains.
Sun Life’s research showed that while the number of Americans who expect to work at least 20 hours a week after age 67–defined as “unretirement”–is largely unchanged, their reasons for continuing to work have shifted dramatically. The most popular reason cited by American workers for why they would continue to work switched from “to stay mentally engaged” to “earn enough money to live well.” In the number two position staying mentally engaged remained important, but the number of Americans who cite they will continue working “for health care benefits” rose from the sixth primary reason to the third most common answer, with 64% now listing it as a reason to postpone retirement.