Rejecting the Early Bird Special: Older Workers Dis Retirement

The economy, health care and Social Security are all factors at play in older workers' decisions to keep working. However, it's not all about money and health. Older workers are also concerned about malaise and usefulness while some simply love their workplace environment.

Workers 60 and over have overwhelmingly put retirement on the back burner, says a new study from CareerBuilder. Concerns and fear from a year ago are still on the minds of those near typical retirement age.

Wall Street investment and the stock market grew in the last year, but that does not mean older workers have recovered all their losses. In March 2009, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was hovering at volume levels around 6,500. In March of 2010, the DJIA is more than 10,000. When 72 percent of 792 workers ages 60 and over say they plan to keep working because they cannot afford to retire, you know the economy is still in play.

"The economy continues to cast doubt in the minds of mature workers regarding executing on their future retirement plans," said Jason Ferrara, of CareerBuilder, in a statement." As a result, they are requesting to stay with employers a bit longer."

Other concerns for older workers include the need for health care and other benefits, the fear of being bored and the comfort of feeling needed in a job. Another major reason stated for postponing retirement was the enjoyment of the workplace and not wanting to give it up. From the CareerBuilder survey:
"Twenty-seven percent of hiring managers say they were approached about postponing retirements last year and were open to retaining mature workers," said Ferrara. "The key is to let your employer know sooner than later that you would like to put off your plans to leave."
Even though the market has rebounded and somewhat stabilized, the attitudes and fears of older workers seem to be on par with how they felt a year ago, according to a 2009 study from Scottrade on American retirement trends that polled 1,000 adults.
"Boomers showed the most pronounced increase in their level of worry about the future - more than two-thirds (67 percent) describe themselves as being concerned about having enough money for retirement," said the study. "This marks a 16 percent increase from 2008 and reflects the fact that Boomers have been hard hit by the economic downturn and have the least amount of time to recover. This generation's concern is so deep, in fact, that this year [2009] saw a remarkable 38 percent increase in the number of Boomers who think they will never be able to fully retire."
One of the major issues not mentioned in the CareerBuilder survey are concerns over the future of Social Security. Seventy-seven percent of respondents were worried about the future of Social Security in the United States, according to the Scottrade report.
What did those in their 20s--commonly referred to as "Generation Y" or "Gen Y"--think about retirement investment in 2009?
"Interestingly, Gen Y does not share the concerns of older generations," said the report. "Despite the economic climate, members of Gen Y remain optimistic about their retirement and are something of an anomaly among American adults... Despite these indicators, the actual amount that Gen Y has saved has declined. Many Gen Yers report not thinking about retirement at all and few have a significant amount of money saved for it."