Retirement: Will Boomers work forever?
“Hoping to retire before you turn 70? Too bad,” said Ivana Kottasová in CNN.com. With the world’s richest countries facing a massive retirement savings and pensions shortfall, working until at least age 70 is expected to become the norm by 2050, according to a new report from the World Economic Forum. “Americans face the largest gap between what they’ll need and what they’ve saved.” Our shortfall hit $28 trillion in 2015 and will rise to $137 trillion in 2050. Already, more Americans are staying in the workforce into their late 60s and beyond, said Stan Choe in the Associated Press. In April, 19 percent of Americans ages 65 and over were still working, the highest rate since 1962. While some are still punching the clock by choice, many simply can’t afford not to. More than a quarter of workers 55 or older report that they have less than $10,000 in retirement savings. “Nearly a third of workers in that age group say they expect to work until at least 70, if they retire at all.”
“Of course, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to work for as long as you want to make up for any savings shortfalls,” said Elizabeth O’Brien in Money.com. In a recent survey of thousands of retirees in 15 developed countries, nearly 40 percent said they’d retired earlier than planned, and of those, 29 percent had done so for health reasons. Ironically, “workers in poor health were more likely than those in excellent health to plan to work to age 70 or older or never retire.” Remember, “not all investments for retirement are financial,” said Kelli Grant in CNBC.com. An unexpected exit from the workforce not only translates into fewer opportunities to save, but you’ll also have to stretch what you do have over a longer period of time. It’s all the more reason to start incorporating healthier habits into your lifestyle now. “Take advantage of health screenings and preventive care available under your health plan, and any employersponsored perks for health improvement.”
“Vowing to work forever tends not to be a solid plan,” said Gail MarksJarvis in the Chicago Tribune. Even those Baby Boomers who manage to stay hale and hearty are expected to face stiff competition in a labor market crowded with record numbers of older workers. Some researchers think the effect will be to drive down wages for older workers, making it even harder for them to catch up on retirement savings. “Working young Baby Boomers should beef up their retirement savings now, while they can.” ■