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Aging Workforce Staying Beyond Retirement Age

Aging Workforce

Aging Workforce Staying Beyond Retirement Age

Aging workforce staying on the job seems to be gaining traction.  Nearly a quarter of Americans in the aging workforce say they don’t plan to retire at all.  According to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, which found that 23% of workers, including nearly 2 in 10 of those over 50, don’t expect to stop working. Roughly another quarter of Americans say they will continue to be part of the aging workforce — they plan to stay on the job past age 65. The research was cited in The Washington Post.

However, the survey findings suggest what The Washington Post calls a “disconnect” between the aging workforce’s retirement plans and their reality. That is because illness, injury, and caregiving responsibilities could force the aging workforce to leave their jobs sooner than planned, according to experts.

Per government data cited by The Washington Post, 1 in 5 people age 65 and older were found to be working or actively looking for a job.  For many in the aging workforce, money is a big motivator for remaining at work. Many of those considered as part of the adding workforce simply cannot afford to retire.  So they believe continuing to work is their only option. In other words, the aging workforce doesn’t have sufficient savings to support themselves in retirement, so they choose to keep working, basically until they no longer are physically able.

According to the AP-NORC survey, around a third of Americans over age 50 say they feel extremely or very prepared when asked how financially comfortable they feel about retirement. By comparison, just 14% of Americans under age 50 say they feel extremely or very prepared for a financially secure retirement. About another 4 in 10 older adults say they feel somewhat prepared, while a third feel unprepared. A full 56% of younger adults say they don’t feel prepared for retirement at all. Among individuals who are fully retired, 38% said they felt very or extremely prepared when they retired, while a quarter said they felt very or not at all prepared.

Does an aging workforce make a positive impact? Americans’ sentiment appears to be mixed: 39% say an aging workforce is a mostly good thing for workers, while 29% think it’s a bad thing, and 30% say it makes no difference, according to the survey. However, 45% think an aging workforce has a positive impact on the U.S. economy.

Of course, the aging workforce perceives their career longevity as a good thing. Forty-two percent of working Americans age 50 and older say the trend is more positive than negative for their careers. Just 15% view the aging workforce as having a negative impact on their careers. Workers younger than 50 are as likely to say the aging workforce is good for their careers as to say it’s bad, according to the survey.

However, remaining on the job may be just a pipedream for many in the aging workforce, especially if they suffer from an illness or injury, The Washington Post observed. For them, high medical bills and a lack of savings have a strong impact on their daily expenses. Many may also find themselves caring for aging parents, which may also force them out of the aging workforce before they are truly ready.

Employers who are witnessing the impacts of the aging workforce should work with employees to help them make the most of their time on the job. Offering continuing education and wellness programs at work can help make a significant impact on the aging workforce’s quality of life. Implementing mentorship programs, where the aging workforce serves as a guide to younger employees and helps them transition into management roles, can also benefit an organization. However, employers should also be mindful of helping the aging workforce transition to retirement as appropriate, and help them make an action plan for doing so. Everyone deserves to retire with dignity, even if it takes the aging workforce a little longer than planned.

Steff Chalk

Steff Chalk

Managing Editor at 401kTV
Steff C. Chalk is Executive Director of The Retirement Advisor University, a collaboration with UCLA Anderson School of Management Executive Education. Steff also serves as Executive Director of The Plan Sponsor University and is current faculty of The Retirement Adviser University.
Steff Chalk

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