According to Gallup’s Economy and Personal Finance survey, the average age of retirement in 1994 was between 57 and 58. In 2013, it was 61. The poll also revealed that only 26% of working Americans expect to retire before the age of 65. So why over the past 20 years have senior citizens chosen to put off their retirement? Here are some possible reasons:
1. They don’t have the money to retire.
Retirement isn’t cheap, especially for those who wait until later in life to start saving and those who fail to save at all. The earlier you started saving for retirement, the better off you’ll be for the final time you have to clock in.
According to a CNBC article from 2011, “Fidelity Investments estimates a 65-year-old couple retiring in 2011 will need $230,000 to pay for medical expenses throughout retirement, not including nursing-home care. This figure assumes there is no employer-provided retiree health-care coverage, and life expectancies of 17 years for men and 20 years for women.”
And that is just a rough estimate of medical cost – not housing, travel, or any other unforeseen expenses that might pop up over the decades spent in retirement. Because of this, 50% of workers say they believe they will return to work during retirement. But there is some good news here, too…
2. They really love their job.
Some people choose to put off retirement just because they really love their job. If you’ve spent most of your adult life building a career you can be proud of, you will obviously have mixed emotions about leaving it behind.
No one is required to retire in a certain year, on a certain day, so there shouldn’t be anything holding someone back from continuing to do a job that they love and are talented at. Some people even feel a loss of identity when they do take the plunge and retire. They were used to their routine and being needed as part of a company or organization. Even if you do eventually want to quit working for good, it’s always nice to have a plan on what your new “thing” will be in retirement.
3. It keeps them active.
Gallup provided another fact that supports the idea of retiring later in life:
Gallup has found that Americans aged 60 to 69 who work have slightly better emotional health than those who do not work.
While waking up and going to work every day might not be what everyone considers to be the “dream,” many jobs keep you physically active, while others help keep your brain active – something that is just as important as physical exercise.
That isn’t to say that you can’t challenge yourself physically and mentally during retirement. In fact, we encourage our residents to be active in body and mind through activities like fitness classes and book clubs. But being held accountable at a job is a good motivator for you to stay at the top of your game.
At what age did you retire? What made you choose that time in your life to make the switch?