Here’s some good news about retirement: a record number of Americans age 65 and over remain in the workforce. And here’s some bad news: a record number of Americans age 65 and over remain in the workforce.
In other words, it’s complicated.
The latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that more Americans are working past the traditional retirement age, Bloomberg reported. The raw numbers of older workers reflect the baby boomer bulge. At 19%, the rate of older Americans working is the highest since the early-1960s. (Some 27% of Americans age 65 and over worked in 1948, before Medicare was even enacted.)
These numbers reflect some positive trends, such as employers’ increasing reliance on skilled older workers amid a tight labor market. What’s more, studies have shown that remaining socially engaged can keep folks physically healthy.
Yet for every worker who postpones retirement because he loves his co-workers and his job, there are more who are hanging on because they need each and every paycheck. Most Americans don’t have nearly enough saved to retire comfortably. About a quarter of Americans report having less than $1,000 saved, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute.
Regardless of their motives, older workers who remain on the job are the lucky ones. Half of retirees left the workforce earlier than expected in 2015, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute. Reasons for their early exit include health problems, caregiving responsibilities, and downsizing at their company.
The bottom line? Don’t count on the ability to work longer to shore up your nest egg.