Boomers Retiring Earlier Than Expected, Cite Bad Health, Job Loss

boomers retiring earlierExperts have long held that baby boomers would work well into their golden years -- if only because of financial necessity.

But a new study shows that the oldest in the group, those born in 1946, are retiring in droves -- and not all of them in happy circumstances.

Nearly 60 percent of the early boomers are at least partially retired, according to the study by the MetLife Mature Market Institute. The majority of those -- 45 percent -- are completely retired, while 14 percent consider themselves retired but work part-time.

The MetLife survey also showed that 37 percent of respondents plan to retire in the next year and, on average, plan to do so by the time they're 68. The data also showed that a slight majority (51 percent) had retired sooner than planned.

Of those who have already retired, 37 percent cited health reasons for retiring sooner than anticipated, while 16 percent said their decision was the result of job loss or a lack of employment opportunities. Seven percent said that having the financial means to retire led to their decision to retire sooner than planned.

In an interview with AOL Jobs, the institute's director of research, John Migliaccio, said there was nothing in the data to suggest that boomers were being forced from the job market, though retiring sooner than anticipated because of failing health or inability to find employment would suggest that some boomers are facing difficulties in maintaining a livelihood.

Results from the survey also showed that nearly two-thirds of those polled (63 percent) are already collecting Social Security benefits and, on average, began doing so at age 63. MetLife says that finding defies the conventional wisdom that Americans prefer to hold off on receiving benefits until they are older and monthly payments are higher.

Regardless of whether boomers have retired or have yet to do so, many haven't saved sufficiently to afford retirement, according to the Insured Retirement Institute, an industry trade group.

The Institute's recent survey of more than 800 boomers shows that only 40 percent of those surveyed said they have saved enough to cover basic needs during their post-work years. Further, nearly two-thirds expressed doubt that they could afford their medical expenses, and three-quarters said they don't feel prepared to handle costs associated with long-term care.

The survey also showed that single people and middle-income boomers, who earn $30,000 to $75,000 a year, were less confident about their ability to afford retirement than others surveyed. The findings showed:

  • 72 percent of single boomers aren't confident that they will have enough money to live comfortably throughout their retirement years, compared to 60 percent of married boomers.
  • 38 percent of unmarried boomers expect their financial security in retirement to be worse than that of their parents, compared to 26 percent of married boomers.
  • 70 percent of middle-income boomers aren't very confident about having enough money to live comfortably in retirement.

The institute's report, however, did show a glimmer of hope, with 74 percent of those surveyed saying, overall, they expect their financial situation to improve or stay the same during the next five years.

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I just retired, Started saving in my 401K early and opted for a cash value for my pension. Investing it wisely and enjoying life. Make room for the next guy but the companies won't replace us-Just pushing the workers who are left.

August 25 2012 at 11:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I belive that you should have too retire at age 62. Because we need to make room in the job market for the younger people to have a job. If we keep working after 62 their is no new jobs coming up for the younger ones to have. As we retire younger ones get are jobs thats how it works

July 20 2012 at 1:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dianne Hoadley

My resume is long with numerous years (36 plus) in the mortgage business but cannot get hired. This even though I have an outstanding job history with many documented achievements. There are many unique ways that employers have of discriminating based on age with questions asked on applications. I believe age is a major deal.

April 09 2012 at 10:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If my life had gone as I had expected it to, I would have been retired 4 years ago; however, I lost my job twice since 2003, lost almost a year's work due to caring for sick parents and then spent 2/3s of my salary the past 2 years trying to keep a roof over my sister's family heads who became victims of the economy. The stock market crashes also didn't help. I am now looking after my 92-year old mother; I work full-time and will turn 66 the end of this year. But to help insure that I will have enough funds to get me through my family's life longevity, I plan on working full-time to 67 and then part-time until 70 and then collect. I'm not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination but was able to put away a sum for my retirement but I agree with the survey in that I believe getting through retirement will be far more difficult than for my parents. This is not to say that I wish I could retire now, because I'm definitely ready after working all my life since I was 17, I need to feel more comfortable about it. I won't be able to live a life of luxury, but I should be able to have the basics.

April 06 2012 at 6:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Why NOT retire early, if you can afford it? It opens up the job pipeline for the enormous group of up and comers who might otherwise not have opportunities to progress in their careers, and it also allows you to relax, travel and pursue other activities while you are still physically capable. This is NOT to say that someone who hangs on and remains in the workplace because they ENJOY it shouldn't do so-- but for the majority of people, that is NOT the case...

April 06 2012 at 1:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Maybe part of this article rings true, but not all. My Husband was forced to retire for health reasons, I chose to retire because he did, and I could. We are 60 years old. We both worked more than 35 years,
paid into social security and pension funds. Other couples like us, also around 60 years old, who worked almost all of their adult lifes, can and will retire soon. We have given our time, for a long time, and now our time will be ours.

April 06 2012 at 12:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Hey moderator, the word "*******" is not vulgar, or's factual in the content as used. I can only assume you are an Obama cheerleader censoring what you don't like.

April 05 2012 at 10:32 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

The truth....I quit. No income, no income taxes to be paid and wasted. When TARP, bailouts, stimulus, Obamacare, and other government crimes and corruption were perpetrated against the American people, by the Commie-in-Chief and his commie Administration, with the collusion of criminals in Congress, I quit. The day Obamacare passed in Congress, I told my Congressman and Senator they voted for it, they could pay for it, I wasn't. I'm not working to give them my money to stuff their pockets, payoff their cronies, foreigners, illegals, welfare, and all of the other crap they waste our money on. And that was before the leeches Obama, by their extravagant lifestyles at taxpayer expense, began ******* the economic life blood from Americans.

April 05 2012 at 10:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to cpenrod's comment

So you were comfy paying billions to blackwater, going in the hole over unfunded wars, and the bailout, which by the way was Bush, not Obama?

That deep thinking will get you in trouble, financial.

April 05 2012 at 10:32 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to threefromil's comment

I gave you a thumbs up but aol ripped you off and made it negative. About as typical as the government. lol

April 06 2012 at 2:10 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down

My husband and I had both worked since we were 16 and owed no one anything. We retired as soon as we possibly could. I worked with students that were emotionally disturbed; murderers, arsonists, gang members and just plainly mentally ill, but I retired due to the school administration not the kids Both my husband and I were tired of doing more and more with less and less resources. We were in our 50's and we wouldn't change a thing.

April 05 2012 at 9:03 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

Elementary school teachers 60 and older are not valued in society today.....retirement was the only option....too bad too.

April 05 2012 at 8:51 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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