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Most boomers plan to keep working in retirement years [chart]

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More than 9 in 10 working middle-income baby boomers expect to be working past the conventional retirement age of 65, according to new research.

Bankers Life Center for a Secure Retirement (CSR) discloses this finding in “The Middle-Income Boomer Retirement Gap: Savings, Education and Advice.” The study surveyed 1,000 Americans ages 50 to 68 with annual household incomes ranging from $25,000 to $100,000.  Of the respondents, 45 percent are already retired.

Of those still working, more expect to retire after age 65 (43 percent) than before age 65 (16 percent). Just two in 10 (19 percent) expect to retire at age 65.

Although boomers are optimistic about retirement, many are concerned about meeting their financial needs in retirement.  While one-third (38 percent) feel very or extremely confident about their retirement savings, two-thirds (62 percent) express doubt, with a quarter (25 percent) being less than totally confident or not at all confident.

Middle-income boomers view a half-million dollars in investable assets as the financial threshold for retirement security. Two-thirds (66 percent) of those with investable assets between $500,000 and $1 million, and nearly nine in 10 (86 percent) of those with investable assets greater than $1 million, are very confident their money will last throughout their retirement, the report states.

However, most middle-income boomers have not achieved this level of asset attainment. Only one in 10 (13 percent) boomers had investable assets of $500,000 or more. More than half (54 percent) have less than $100,000 and one-third (34 percent) reported investable assets of less than $25,000.  

One explanation for lower investable assets may be that boomers are heavily invested in their homes. While the median investable assets are $25,000 to $100,000, the median home equity value reported by survey participants was $100,000 to $250,000.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the life expectancy of a 65-year-old has grown by 37 percent since 1950. As a result, the amount of money needed to fund a secure retirement, especially health care, has grown as well.

The report also indicates that boomers are largely unprepared for managing major changes in their health:

  • 65 percent don’t have a current health care power of attorney
  • 64 percent lack an up-to-date living will
  • 63 percent do not have a current last will and testament.

The chart on the following page recaps key findings from the report.