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Boomers more likely to retire at 65 but retirement looks a lot like work

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Is there optimism about the economy in the wind?  Evidently the baby boomers can smell something because a survey by Del Webb, the nation’s leading builder of retirement communities found that those individuals 50 to 60 years old were more likely to plan to retire by age 65 than those surveyed just three years ago.  But their idea of retirement might surprise many.  Surprisingly, though many boomers say they aren’t prepared financially for retirement, a significant number of them feel that continuing to work will help them maintain a sense of purpose.  The majority of survey respondents (51 percent) indicated that they will continue to work in the same or different jobs in order to prevent boredom, stay busy, and because they find personal satisfaction in doing so.  Those results are borne out by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics that expects to see the number of workers over 65 to grow by 80 percent by 2016.  The main difference between working and retirement while working seems to be the shift in focus from their careers to family, activities and travelling.

A similar Gallup poll found that about 40 percent of people planning to postpone retirement will do so because they want to rather than because they have to.  In fact according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, an estimated one-third of adults between 65 and 70 are still at the job.

There may be some health benefits beyond employer-sponsored health benefits.  Some people are staying in the job in order to continue getting benefits it’s true, but researchers at the University of Maryland found that workers have a lower instance of disability or disease than those who do not.  Perhaps it’s because boomers who continue to work often tie their work lives in with their passions.  Researchers found that retirees who transitioned from full-time work into temporary or part-time employment functioned better day-to-day and had fewer major diseases.

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