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Is Retirement Dying? Why The Old Work Model Is Disappearing…

More Americans are opting to work well into retirement, a growing trend that threatens to upend the old workforce model.

One in three Americans who are at least 40 have, or plan to have a job in retirement to prepare for a longer life, according to a survey conducted by Harris Poll for TD Ameritrade.

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Even more surprising is that more than half of “unretirees” — those who plan to work in retirement or went back to work after retiring — said they would be employed in their later years even if they had enough money to settle down, the survey showed.

Financial needs aren’t the only culprit for the “unretirement” trend. Other reasons, according to the study, include personal fulfillment such as staying mentally fit, preventing boredom or avoiding depression.

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About 72% of “unretiree” respondents said that they would return to work once retired to keep mentally fit while 59% said it would be tied to making ends meet.

“The concept of retirement is evolving,” said Christine Russell, senior manager of retirement at TD Ameritrade. “It’s not just about finances. The value of work is also driving folks to continue working past retirement.”

One reason for the change in retirement patterns: Americans are living longer. The share of the population 65 and older was 16% in 2018, up 3.2% from the prior year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That’s also up 30.2% since 2010.

Related video: Nearly 1 in 4 Americans don’t plan to retire (provided by Buzz60)

Older Americans are also the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. workforce, and Boomers are expected to live longer than previous generations.

The percentage of retirement-age people in the labor force has doubled over the past three decades. About 20% of people 65 and older were in the workforce in February, up from an all-time low of 10% in January 1985, according to money manager United Income.

Because of longer life spans, Americans are also boosting their savings to preserve their nest eggs, the TD Ameritrade study showed, which surveyed 2,000 adults between 40 to 79. Six in 10 “unretirees” are increasing their savings in anticipation of a longer life, according to the survey.

Among the most popular ways they are doing this, the company said, is by reducing their overall expenses, securing life insurance or maximizing their contributions to retirement accounts.

Unfortunately, many people who are opting to work in retirement are preparing to do so because they are worried about making ends meet in their later years, said Brent Weiss, a co-founder at Baltimore-based financial-planning firm Facet Wealth. He suggested that pre-retirees should speak with a financial advisor to set long-term financial goals.

“The most challenging moments in life are getting married, starting a family and ultimately retiring,” Weiss said. “It’s not just a financial decision, but an emotional one. Many people believe they can’t retire.”

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8 comments

  1. thanks to voters, Congress waste, corruption and the media retirement be a thing of the past! It’s not one party or the other, it’s the combination of all politicians wanting there piece of pie (the American taxed dollars) that is not controlled by the tax payer or the swarn duty of the politician we put in place. More free time and less down to business bill writing and READing proposals for the American tax payer.

  2. i imagine that you surveyed working people. i also think that if you surveyed retired people, among those who are financially able to retire almost no one would jump at the chance to go back to work. i wouldnt.

    furthermore, i suspect that the REAL reason people claim that they dont want to retire is because they dont believe they will have enough money anyway.

    when i was working i never thought i would stop working. now that i am retired, and i see that i am able to make it financially, you couldnt get me to jump back into the world of corporate America.

  3. It is interesting that there is one major issue that the writer of this article (and many Americans) do not consider. The article states that many Americans do not plan to retire at the typical retirement age, but plan to continue working. I work in a hospital, and I talk to many older people who have retired before they wanted to, literally because their aging bodies would not allow them to work any longer. Injuries, failing minds, and failing major body parts/systems force their will on people who would rather work, but no longer can. We are missing the mark because we do not plan for the worst (and I don’t mean just financially, but financially and physically). Consider that the majority of the typical hospital’s business comes from people who are aging when you make your “plans”, and be prepared for the very real possibility that these plans may not be realized the way that you would like them to be. My husband and I are starting to take more vacations now than we used to, because we are both in our fifties and we know that our bodies may not perform well enough for us to travel and do the things that we want to do as we age. Plan wisely for your future, but live now. Above all, trust the God who knows you better than you know yourself, and also is the only One who knows your future.

  4. Well I’m 74 and self employed and have now got down to part time. I get a small pension and my wife and me have a very small mortgage. She is 61 and still working and firing on all cylinders. We been together just on 30 yrs and are among other things, best mates. She has a wonderful sense of humour and loves them pooches so that’s where she’ll head for semi retirement.
    Getting older is not for the faint hearted and my hobbies include songwriting art artwork which I been doing since forever. But I never intended to just stop doing and earning. However, I do not feel as though life has worked out any less for us – but I still buy the Lottery every week.

    I am a firm believer but for the sake of easy discussion, I refer to the Good Lord as my ‘Secretary in the Sky ‘. And oh my, has he/she helped us through some tough times. So, come what may, I do have a little grin at that old chestnut about the atheist headstone in Central Park NY which says “Here lies an atheist, all dressed up and nowhere to go”. Seems kinda pointless don’t you think?

  5. Retired when I was 32 had to start back to work when I turned 49 due to bad investments and bad economy now after 2 bouts with cancer I won’t be able to retire to retire again until I catch up with my doctor bills so count me among the I’ll keep working.

  6. I’m 69 and still working and probably will for as long as I’m able. I would love to retire. I’ve worked my entire adult life and I’m tired of the rat race. I do love spending time with my co-workers and being active, but I could do that through charity work. I would love to have more time to devote to helping others through volunteer service. I’m sure most of this is my fault through poor planning and changing jobs often, but the economy from years past, the recession of 1980 and again in 2008 has set me so far back that there is no way to catch up now. I’m terrified of getting sick and losing everything to end up having to depend on others. Therefore I am determined to hang in as part of the work force for as long as I can. Luckily, I’m still able to that right now.

  7. Retired at 62. Went back to work after two months. Employer wanted me out so i had no alternative but to retire. I had to take two months off in order to get pension. I am young so there’s no reason why I can’t work part time. I plan to work until I’m at least 67. I haven’t taken money from my retirement. Ill will work part time as long as I am able.

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