Americans Are Working Longer, Kissing Retirement Goodbye

Growing older should be an enjoyable time in a person’s life, but that seems to be a thing of the past, based on recent studies that found people are working much longer out of necessity. Read on to see why many aging professionals are working well past their prime and postponing retirement – sometimes, indefinitely.

american are working longer

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According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), “[T]otal employment is projected to increase 10.8 percent,” peaking at 163.5 million workers by 2022. A quarter of the total workforce in 2022 will be made up of workers aged 55 years and older, which means more people are choosing to continue to work past retirement now for various reasons. TransAmerica Center for Retirement Studies’ 16th Annual Retirement Survey found that 82 percent of the study’s participants in their sixties “expect to or are already working past age 65 or do not plan to retire,” and “52 percent plan to work in retirement, most for income or health benefits.”

In 1992, the median age of the American workforce was 37.1, and that is expected to climb to 42.6 by 2022. A vast majority of Americans are working longer because they aren’t in a financial position to leave their 9-to-5 incomes and retire comfortably, so more seniors are opting to remain at their full-time jobs, as opposed to volunteering or working part-time. What does this mean for aging professionals?

There is good news, and there’s bad news. Let’s start with the bad news: Seniors nowadays will have to work longer and harder than previous generations to simply make it in life. The Great Recession of 2008 and the financial devastation that ensued thereafter have greatly contributed to the longer work expectancies of Americans. Many people are just now getting caught up and recovering from losing nearly everything during those trying times, so this setback has forced these individuals to push back retirement for a few more years or, in more severe cases, indefinitely.

Sara Rix, Senior Strategic Policy Adviser for AARP Public Policy Institute, tells CNBC that Americans are also working later for “social and psychological reasons.” So, the good news is, by working longer, seniors are able to keep their bodies moving and minds busy. Research show that professionals who change careers later in life are happier and earn more money in their new occupations. Maybe the key to career success is growing older and finding your true calling in life. Finally, it all comes full circle!

The bottom line is, if you’re a working American, then you will have to come to grips with the fact that you may just have to postpone retirement, because we’re all going to be in this rat race a bit longer than we previously expected. Therefore, it’s wise to spend those many, many years working doing something that is fulfilling and that you enjoy, or else you will be wasting the best years of your life.

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