As the U.S. economy recovers, some older workers are feeling more comfortable about retiring, although most still foresee working longer than they had anticipated before the stock market drop of 2008-09.
According to a survey taken at the end of 2010 for recruitment firm CareerBuilder, 65 percent of workers age 60 and over said they are putting off retirement because they can’t afford to retire financially; that's down from 72 percent who said the same a year earlier.
Reasons for Working Longer
The primary drivers for postponing retirement are financial restraints, indicated by 65 percent of older workers, and the need for health insurance and other benefits, indicated by 58 percent.
However, older workers are staying on board at their companies for a variety of other reasons, including:
• Enjoy their job (39 percent).
• Enjoy where they work (36 percent).
• Fear retirement might be boring (26 percent).
• Enjoy feeling needed (14 percent).
"It’s encouraging to see that more workers have the option to retire if they want to, but there are still some who want to keep working at their companies for a variety of reasons," said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of HR at CareerBuilder. "Twenty-two percent of workers age 60 and up said they have asked their employer to stay longer with the company, while 29 percent of companies said they are open to keeping workers on board a little longer.”
Tips for Mature Workers
PrimeCB.com, CareerBuilder’s job site for mature workers, offers the following tips that can be shared with workers who are facing retirement decisions:
• Get the facts. Make sure they have open communication with the HR department as they start planning for their retirement. At the same time, HR should be prepared to help guide them in what makes sense for their budgetary and benefits needs.
• Consider part-time work. If they're worried about keeping busy or making enough money after they retire, point out they might consider freelance or part-time work. Nearly half (47 percent) of workers age 60 and up said they planned to find a part-time job after retiring to stay active and help support their bank accounts.
• Leverage their knowledge. If they would like to postpone retirement, help them to explore how they can use their experience and intellectual capital to contribute to the organization. Propose a mentorship program or that they lead training sessions on various topics so they can make themselves even more valuable as a resource.
The nationwide survey was conducted among 536 full-time U.S. employees age 60 and up from Nov. 15-Dec. 2, 2010.
Employees' Retirement Readiness Is Employer Priority, SHRM Online Benefits Discipline, January 2011
Baby Boomers Could Face a Grim Retirement, SHRM Online Benefits Discipline, August 2010
Study: Typical 401(k) Participant Can’t Retire Until Age 73, SHRM Online Benefits Discipline, August 2010
SHRM Online Benefits Discipline