Retirement? Not Everyone Plans to Stop Working


One in five Americans expect to work forever, or basically until they are unable, according to a recent generational retirement study by Transamerica. This percentage seems incredibly high, yet not entirely unexpected as more people work well into “retirement years” by choice or by necessity.

Interestingly, younger and older workers are more likely to report they will work longer for enjoyment reasons, while “workers in their thirties (62 percent), forties (66 percent), and fifties (65 percent) are similarly likely to cite income and benefits-related reasons for working in retirement,” according to the May 2015 Retirement Throughout the Ages: Expectations and Preparations of American Workers 16th Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey of Workers.

Some 58 percent of the people surveyed expect to work past age 65, but when those numbers were broken down by age, the report found 82 percent of employees currently in their sixties plan to keep working, while only 50 percent of twenty- and thirty- somethings plan to work beyond age 65.

The overall savings and retirement planning outlook tends to vary as well, depending upon age. Here are some of the report’s key findings by age bracket:

Twenty-somethings – Are “committed, concerned, and cautious” with most expecting very little support from Social Security benefits. Some 67 percent of workers in their twenties are saving for retirement, but nearly 40 percent of this age group does not understand asset allocation principles based on age and risk tolerance, and they tend to pick low-return investment vehicles.

Thirty-somethings – Understand the value of saving for the future, with 76 percent of workers saving for retirement since age 25. This age group is particularly self-directed with retirement investment decisions, yet 68 percent “say they don’t know as much as they should about retirement investing.”

Forty-somethings – Are worried about their retirement savings and other financial burdens, but are still trying to put away money for the future. While “82 percent of those who are offered a 401(k) or similar plan are participating” nearly one-fourth of them have borrowed against the savings or made an early withdrawal.

Fifty-somethings – With traditional retirement years not far away, workers in this age bracket are actively saving for retirement through both 401(k) and individual savings plans. Of the 83 percent utilizing employer-sponsored retirement plans, some “31 percent are contributing more than 10 percent to the plan.”

Sixty-somethings and Older – Amazingly, the study found that 83 percent of people in this age bracket are working, or are planning to work, past age 65, and 50 percent don’t anticipate ever retiring! Most of those currently working, expect to phase into retirement by gradually reducing the hours worked at their current employer.

While American workers are saving for retirement, the report found there is a general lack of investment knowledge. Many people do not have a savings strategy, making it difficult to plot out a short-term plan for reaching long-term goals.

The study provides yet another compelling reason for an overall financial wellness approach. While some plan sponsors are offering more holistic financial education, the Transamerica report shows we still need to make progress in this area to help employees prepare for retirement. Because even those folks who want to work as long as possible, will some day need to utilize their retirement savings!