The Associated Press CHICAGO (AP) — Nearly one-quarter of Americans say they never plan to retire, according to a poll that suggests a disconnection between individuals’ retirement plans and the realities of aging in the workforce.
Experts say illness, injury, layoffs and caregiving responsibilities often force older workers to leave their jobs sooner than they’d like.
According to the poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, 23 percent of workers, including nearly 2 in 10 of those over 50, don’t expect to stop working.
According to government data, about 1 in 5 people 65 and older was working or actively looking for a job in June.
For many, money has a lot to do with the decision to keep working.
“The average retirement age that we see in the data has gone up a little bit, but it hasn’t gone up that much,” says Anqi Chen, assistant director of savings research at the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. “So people have to live in retirement much longer, and they may not have enough assets to support themselves in retirement.”
When asked how financially comfortable they feel about retirement, 14 percent of Americans under the age of 50 and 29 percent over 50 say they feel extremely or very prepared, according to the poll. About another 4 in 10 older adults say they do feel somewhat prepared, while just about one-third feel unprepared. By comparison, 56 percent of younger adults say they don’t feel prepared for retirement.
Among those who are fully retired, 38 percent said they felt very or extremely prepared when they retired, while 25 percent said they felt not very or not at all prepared.
“One of the things about thinking about never retiring is that you didn’t save a whole lot of money,” says Ronni Bennett, 78, who was pushed out of her job as a New York-based website editor at 63.
She searched for work in the immediate aftermath of her layoff, a process she describes as akin to “banging my head against a wall.” Finding Manhattan too expensive without a steady stream of income, she eventually moved to Portland, Maine. A few years later, she moved again, to Lake Oswego, Oreg.