Middle-income boomers are delaying retirement by an average of five years, a report released Tuesday by the Bankers Life and Casualty Company Center for a Secure Retirement found. The majority of boomers agree that the catalyst for retirement will be their financial status rather than their age.
The report identified several factors for the shift in retirement age. First, retirement risk has been effectively shifted to individuals from employers with the steady decline of pension plans in favor of 401(k) plans. Uncertainty about Social Security and Medicare also contributes to boomers' feelings of having to put off retirement. And, of course, the recession has done no one any favors in saving for retirement.
Over two-thirds of respondents said they thought they'd be better off than they are. Just 4% say they are better off than they expected to be at this point in their lives, and less than one-quarter are on target.
The report claims, though, that if there is a silver lining it's that the recession occurred before the first wave of boomers began turning 65. "The downturn will encourage more people to realistically examine their financial plan for retirement while they may still have time to make adjustments that can help improve their financial security and, ultimately, the enjoyment of their retirement years," the report claims.
Boomers have accepted that retirement will look different from that of their parents, and over half said they were "looking forward to retiring." The pensions and guaranteed income of yore are what boomers envy most; three-quarters expect to work in retirement. "Old retirement" activities such as slowing down, being taken care of by family members and moving to a retirement community are being replaced by keeping up with technology, working and staying physically fit.