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Goodbye, Golden Years (New York Times)

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Historically, economic recessions play a big part in determining retirement age – in more ways than one. Declining portfolio values encourage employees to work longer, yes, but a weakened labor market also makes jobs less fulfilling and less available, prompting some employees to retire earlier than planned. It was predicted that this second trend would drive many older Americans to take an early retirement over the past three years, but this hasn’t been the case. Why? There are several possible factors: Social Security benefits can now be redeemed by employees even if they continue to work past 65, workers are healthier, and work is less arduous than it used to be. In any case, this new trend of longer-working seniors could be good on a number of fronts. Besides adding more tax revenues, senior workers may actually increase employment among the young by helping build creative enterprises that need young hires.