It should probably come as no surprise that American workers are expecting to work longer. The Retirement Confidence Survey notes that in 1991, just 11% of workers expected to retire after age 65. This year that was up to 33% of workers, and another 10% who said they don’t plan to retire at all.
they retired earlier than they had expected — just 7% later than they expected. Similar trends were found in EBRI’s 2014 Retirement Confidence Survey (RCS), where while more than one-in-five (22%) of workers say they plan to wait at least until age 70 to retire, only 9% of current retirees actually did so. In fact, going back to 1991, the RCS has found that the median (midpoint) age at which retirees report they retired has remained at age 62 throughout this time.
In fact, the RCS has consistently found not only that a large percentage of retirees leave the work force earlier than planned (49% in 2014), but that many retirees who retired earlier than planned cite negative reasons for leaving the work force when they did, including:
- health problems or disability (61%);
- changes at their company (such as downsizing or closure (18%); or
- having to care for a spouse or another family member (18%).
Retirement planning requires a lot of assumptions — things like how much we’ll need to live, the return(s) on our investments, how long we’ll live in retirement, and when that retirement will begin.
However, the data also suggest that the assumption that we’ll be able to work to — much less through — the traditional retirement age of 65 may be one of the more optimistic.
- Nevin E. Adams, JD