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Reality bites for boomers unable to work in retirement

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According to a recent study commissioned by Bankers Life Center for a Secure Retirement, a whopping seventy-two percent of America’s retired baby boomers are not currently working for pay in retirement.

But it’s not so they can spend their golden years on the golf course because 48 percent of them ”would like to work but cannot, due to their own health reasons (35 percent), the health of a loved one (5 percent) or because they can’t find a job (8 percent).”

The study – New Expectations, New Rewards: Work in Retirement for Middle-Income boomers – surveyed 1,005 middle-income boomers and 2,293 retired boomers aged 51 to 69 with an annual household income between $25,000 and $100,000. 

Additional findings from the study:

* 69 percent)of retired boomers say they would have liked to have worked longer but find that they retired earlier than expected.

* Among those, 79 percent retired early for reasons that were not in their control, such as a personal health situation (39 percent), being laid off (19 percent) or could no longer perform their job (6 percent).

28 percent of retired boomers are either currently employed or have been employed for pay during retirement. Of those currently working, more than six in 10 (61 percent) say they are working because they want to work, not because they have to work. In contrast, more than seven in 10 (71 percent) nonretired boomers say they are working because they have to work. 

* 59 percent work for non-financial reasons, including to stay mentally alert (18 percent), to remain physically active (15 percent), to have a sense of purpose (14 percent) or to stay socially connected to others (7 percent). Furthermore, half (49 percent) expect to work beyond age 70 or as long as their health will allow. 

Positive impacts of working in retirement

According to the report, “working boomer retirees say they are happier and more satisfied with their job than nonretirees. An overwhelming 78 percent are just as satisfied or more satisfied with their job now than they were with their job before retiring. One-third (32 percent) report being much more satisfied now.”

“Consider work in retirement, even if it is only part time,” said Scott Goldberg, president of Bankers Life. “Because we are living longer into our retirement years, the financial and health benefits of working longer can enhance the retirement experience.”