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EBRI: Great Recession May Make Workers Work Longer

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Many workers now say they want to work past the normal retirement age – but some of those workers may have a hard time holding on to jobs as long as they think they will.

Researchers at the Employee Benefit Research Institute, Washington, have published statistics supporting those conclusions in their 2010 Retirement Confidence Survey report, which is based on a January telephone survey by Mathew Greenwald & Associates Inc., Washington, of 251 U.S. retirees and 902 U.S. workers ages 25 and older.

About 33% of the participating workers say they plan to work past age 70, up from 31% in 2009 and 26% in 2008.

But only 8% of the actual retirees said they had managed to work past age 70, and 31% reported they had retired before they turned 60.

Only 4% of the actual retirees said they had managed to keep working later than they had planned, and 41% said they had had to retire earlier than they had planned.

About 54% said they had to retire earlier than they had planned due to health problems; 19% retired to care for a family member; and 26% retired because their employers downsized or shut down.

Only 23% of retirees said they have been able to work for pay during retirement.

Other survey findings:

- 38% of the participants somewhat favor or strongly favor the idea of making workers use $100,000 of their retirement plan assets or half of the assets, whichever is less, to buy an income annuity. Only 32% support putting direct limits on retirement plan withdrawals.

- 71% of workers said they have tried to save for retirement, up from 62%% in 2009. But 54% said they have less than $25,000 in savings, and 27% said they have less than $1,000 in savings.

- The percentage of participants who said they are very confident about an institution was 23% for private employers, 19% for banks, 12% for insurance companies, and 11% for the federal government.