Study after study shows that Americans just aren't saving enough for retirement. Part of the problem is that, as a nation, we have taken on so much debt that we're using our savings to pay it off. The other is that, through the miracles of modern medicine, we're going to live a lot longer and thus will need much more money in retirement than we might have planned.
The byproduct of all this is that most Americans are beginning to face the music and admit that they'll be working well into their retirement years.
According to a new survey conducted by online polling and market research provider Vizu Corporation on behalf of RetireeWorkforce.com, more than three-quarters of people working today plan to continue working into their retirement years. Nearly 40% of all respondents reported they anticipate doing so for monetary reasons, either to meet daily needs or to boost their quality of life.
The survey, conducted during September, says that 34.1% of respondents said they will work to "make ends meet", while another 14.7% said they would seek employment to "earn extra income to boost their quality of life". Nearly 22% answered that their motivation for working would be "the mental stimulation and challenge"; 4.7% said it would be "for the personal and human interaction."
Of all those surveyed, 24.8% revealed they don't plan to be working in their retirement years. The survey results contain an 8% margin of error at 90% confidence.
"Attitudes about work are definitely changing. People are perceiving work as much more of a lifelong endeavor, rather than simply a lengthy phase," says Joseph J. Scalice President and CEO of RetireeWorkforce.com. "Individuals maintain their health and earning power longer than ever. Those shifts, combined with the economic realities of reduced personal savings, self-funded retirement plans and a more mobile society that often breaks the close-knit extended family, has caused people to re-think what it means to be retired."
Part of the this retirement mindset is that Baby Boomers aren't sure they actually want to retire to sunny Florida and its daily rituals of golf, canasta, and early-bird specials. Many boomers say they want to start new businesses and take on new professional responsibilities in retirement - - sort of a 'second act" for boomer professionals.
Studies by Merrill Lynch and Ernst and Young study bears that sentiment out, finding that from 74% to 85% of all Baby Boomers want to remain in the workforce in some capacity.
For technology companies that could be a boon to both the bottom line and to productivity.
Statistics indicate that employers will need these experienced, senior workers. A study released in 2007 of New York employers by the AARP, conducted by consulting firm Towers Perrin, showed that 62% expected to face a workforce shortage in the next five years. Half of those surveyed admitted that a significant amount of knowledge will be lost, and 60% said they are having a difficult time finding qualified workers. Despite the situation, only 23% have implemented any steps to prepare for the labor shortfall.
Employers will have good reason to embrace the aging Boomer market. In the next 10 years, the 50-plus demographic will grow by 22 million; 78 million Baby Boomers will retire in the next twenty years, a rate four times the growth of the 18-59 age group over the same period.
Before the midpoint of the 21st century, in fact, 90 million Americans will be 65 or older, doubling today's senior population and creating the single largest demographic segment in the U.S.
So it's a good news/bad news issue for the great American worker. While you may not have enough money to retire, your skillsets in retirement will be in more demand than ever.
That's a good thing. You may not have a choice about retiring or not, so at least you have some job-options during your golden years.