Nearly one-quarter of Americans said they never plan to retire, according to a poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research that suggested a disconnect between individuals’ retirement plans and the realities of aging in the workforce.
Experts say illness, injury, layoffs and caregiving responsibilities often force older workers to leave their jobs sooner than they’d like.
Twenty-three per cent of workers, including nearly two in 10 of those over age 50, don’t expect to stop working. Roughly another quarter of Americans said they’ll continue working beyond their 65th birthday.
According to government data, about one in five people age 65 and older was working or actively looking for a job in June. For many, money has a lot to do with the decision to keep working.
When asked how financially comfortable they feel about retirement, 14 per cent of Americans under the age of 50 and 29 per cent over 50 said they feel extremely or very prepared, noted the poll. About another four in 10 older adults said they do feel somewhat prepared, while just about one-third felt unprepared. By comparison, 56 per cent of younger adults said they don’t feel prepared for retirement.
Among those who are fully retired, 38 per cent said they feel very or extremely prepared when they retired, while 25 per cent said they felt not very or not at all prepared.
Americans also have mixed assessments of how the aging workforce affects workers: 39 per cent thought people staying in the workforce longer is mostly a good thing for American workers, while 29 per cent thought it’s more a bad thing and 30 per cent said it made no difference.
A somewhat higher share, 45 per cent, said they think it has a positive effect on the U.S. economy.
Working Americans who are 50 and older thought the trend was more positive than negative for their own careers — 42 per cent to 15 per cent. Those younger than 50 were about as likely to say it’s good for their careers as to say it’s bad.
But remaining in the workforce may be unrealistic for people dealing with unexpected illness or injuries. For them, high medical bills and a lack of savings loom large over day-to-day expenditures.