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IRI survey points up discrepancy between actual and expected retirement ages

Photo credit: photostock
Photo credit: photostock

More than a quarter of boomer workers say they plan to retire at age 70 or older, but less than 20 percent of individuals age 65 and over were in the labor force in 2011, new research reveals.

The Insured Retirement Institute, Washington, D.C., published these finding in a survey, “Work and Retirement: Current Workers’ Expectations vs. Retirees Real Experience.” IRI commissioned Woefel Research Inc. to conduct the survey.

Citing statistics from the Employee Benefit Research Institute, the IRI survey shows that participation in the labor force for individuals age 65 and over increased to 17.9 percent in 2011 from 10.7 percent in 1986. However, more than a third (34.9 percent) of boomers surveyed in the IRI study say plan to continue to work past age 65, thus pointing up a discrepancy between actual and expected ages of retirement.

The percentage of boomers who plan to work past age 65 is higher than that of Generation Xers, 25.1 percent of whom report they are planning to retire at age 66 or older.

A significant percentage of individuals in both generations (30.8% of boomers and 26.7% of Generation Xers) say they do not know at what age they will retire.

In 2012, 50 percent of surveyed retirees report they retired earlier than planned. The most cited reasons, the survey states, are due to health issues or disability (51 percent), changes at their employer or downsizing (21 percent) and family care-giving responsibilities (19 percent).

Working a few extra years beyond can positively impact retirement readiness. The IRI survey observes that nearly two-thirds (66 percent) of individuals are ready for retirement at age 66. If these individuals wait until age 70, their retirement readiness increases to 89 percent.

Among workers age 50 and older, 38 percent express an interest in a phased retirement program. Of those interested, nearly 8 in 10 (78 percent) say that such a plan would encourage them to work past their expected retirement age.

More than 6 in 10 baby boomers (64.4 percent) and 7 in 10 Generation Xers (70 percent) say that work in retirement will be a source of retirement income.  

According to the study, three-quarters (75 percent) of retirees say the method in which they retired was to stop work all at once. 

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