The Landscape of Retirement Continues to Change

A new research brief published by the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire, adds to mounting evidence that retirement patterns are shifting dramatically. This represents an abrupt change from the nearly 50 year long trend of older adults retiring earlier to a life of leisure. The autonomy promised by retirement has quickly become an unreachable dream for a growing number of older adults and perhaps undesirable for others who prefer to work later into life.

Carsey researchers report that older Americans are now working more hours and retiring later than before. This trend began in the 1990s and has become more marked since the beginning of the recession in the mid 2000s. Workers with college degrees, men, and divorced women were more likely to be working beyond 65 years of age. From 1995 to 2009, the number of men and women aged 65 and older grew from 17% and 7% respectively to 22% and 13%.

Researchers expect this trend to continue because of ongoing revisions to the retirement income system in the U.S. The financial security provided to past generations during their post-retirement years have eroded and the future is uncertain regarding the structure of retirement income.

With older workers staying around longer, employers are going to have to adapt to the needs of an aging workforce.

Source: Shattuck, A. 2010. Older Americans working more, retiring less. Carsey Institute Issue Brief  No. 16.

Self-Fulfilling ProphecyHow Perceptions of Aging Affect Our Later Years

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