They can be found diligently working in local grocery stores, offices, department stores and within the health care industry – they’re Americans aged 65 and older who remain active in the working world.
According to the U.S. Labor Department, the number of Americans in the workforce ages 65 and older has doubled in the past 15 years. It is estimated more than 33 percent of men and more than 25 percent of women ages 65 to 69 are still receiving a paycheck.
A record 7.2 million senior citizens ages 65 and older are said to missing out on their golden years.
While it is anticipated a percentage of these older citizens work simply to keep active, it is believed more than half of working seniors were actually unable to retire as planned or were forced back in to the workforce as their savings, 401(k)s and pensions waned when stock markets crashed and the cost of living and healthcare increased.
Impossible to Retire
For many Americans, it has become difficult, if not impossible, to retire.
While data indicates the overall number of people working in the United States has been reduced by 4.4 million since the economic recession began more than four years ago, it was also reported the number of workers age 65 and older has seen an increase of 25 percent, which equates to 1.4 million more seniors.
According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) 2011 Retirement Confidence Study, 74 percent of workers plan to work for money in retirement, up four percent from the previous year.
In 2006, EBRI reported 11.2 percent of workers age 50 or older planned to retire at age 70. By 2012, however, that number increased to 14.8 percent. In 2006, 1.7 percent planned to work until age 80 and by 2010, 5.2 percent of seniors indicated that would have to remain working.
The main reasons cited for the postponement in retirement vary from a substantial loss in retirement savings due to the economy, the significant need for health care as Medicare premiums continue to increase and changes in Social Security benefits. Many seniors are struggling just to make ends meet.
According to an AARP report, formerly the American Association of Retired Persons, one in four seniors surveyed indicated they had exhausted all their savings during the recession. One in 8 indicated they had lost their health insurance and nearly half of those people stated they were having difficulty making ends meet which in turn delayed obtaining medical and dental care or stopped taking much-needed medications.
Impact of Longer Life Spans
In addition, many seniors are finding longer life spans have also affected their retirement years as they are forced to find long-term care for their own aging parents.
Some seniors over 65 also are faced with children and grandchildren in need of financial assistance because of the challenging economy and have depleted their personal nest egg for retirement in an effort to help.
It is suggested this increase in senior citizens in the workforce the past few years, especially during a recession, has impacted the number of available jobs for younger Americans. It is estimated that 23 percent of teenagers from 16 to 19 years old are unemployed, as people over 65 tend to fill those positions.
Bill “No Pay” Fay has lived a meager financial existence his entire life. He started writing/bragging about it seven years ago, helping birth Debt.org into existence as the site’s original “Frugal Man.” Prior to that, he spent more than 30 years covering college and professional sports, which are the fantasy worlds of finance. His work has been published by the Associated Press, New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Sports Illustrated and Sporting News, among others. His interest in sports has waned some, but his interest in never reaching for his wallet is as passionate as ever. Bill can be reached at email@example.com.
- Greenhouse, S. Working Late, by Choice or Not (2012). The New York Times. Retrieved from: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/10/business/retirementspecial/for-many-reasons-older-americans-remain-at-work.html?pagewanted=1&ref=retirementspecial
- Crawshaw, J. David Rosenberg: Many Over 65 Can't Afford to Retire (2012). Money News. Retrieved from: http://www.moneynews.com/StreetTalk/Rosenberg-retire-workers-65/2012/05/21/id/439700
- EBRI.Org. Higher Percentage of Older Workers in the Work Force in 2010 (2011). Retrieved from: http://www.ebri.org/pdf/PR913%2017Feb11%20LbrFrcPar1.pdf
- Nawaguna, E. Seniors Finding Way Back Into Work Force (2012). Retrieved from: http://www.theledger.com/article/20120328/NEWS/120329242/1001/BUSINESS?Title=Seniors-Finding-Way-Back-Into-Work-Force-
- Golden Times. AARP: Many Older Americans May Not Recover From Recession (2012). Retrieved from:
- EBRI.Org. The 2011 Retirement Confidence Survey: Confidence Drops to Record Lows, Reflecting “the New Normal” (2011). Retrieved from:
- EBRI.Org. Retirement Age Expectations of Older Americans Between 2006 and 2010. (2011) Retrieved from: http://www.ebri.org/publications/notes/index.cfm?fa=notesDisp&content_id=4954