Conventional wisdom these days holds that conventional wisdom about retirement is wrong, or at least outdated—rendered obsolete by a bad economy, increasing longevity, etc. Recent reports have found boomers plan to work well into their 60s, 70s or beyond. But a new study from MetLife finds that, contrary to predictions, older Americans are retiring. In fact, more than 60 percent of 65-year-olds—the leading edge of the boomer generation—are already collecting Social Security. Just don’t say that makes them old: On average, 65-year-old boomers say they won’t consider themselves old until age 79 (a year older than reported in 2007).
The study, “Transitioning into Retirement: The MetLife Study of Baby Boomers at 65,” is a follow-up to a 2008 study MetLife conducted on the oldest and youngest boomers, and includes many of the same respondents. Some notable findings:
- 59 percent of the first boomers to turn 65 are at least partially retired (45 percent are fully retired, while 14% are retired but working part-time).
- Of 65-year-olds still working, 37 percent say they’ll retire in the next year; on average, those still working plan to retire by age 68.
- Many leading-edge boomers say they retired earlier than they had expected; of this group, 40 percent did so for health reasons.
- 63 percent of respondents are already collecting Social Security benefits, and on average began doing so at age 63.
Furthermore, boomers aren’t just retiring—they’re enjoying retirement. Almost all (96 percent) of respondents said they like retirement at least somewhat; 70 percent said they like it a lot.
That doesn’t, however, mean they’re all confident in their retirement security: Only 43 percent said they’re optimistic about the future. Of the 19 percent who are actively pessimistic, about one-half fault the government and one-fifth blame the economy.
Thursday Quick Hits:
- A 73-year-old NY woman is suing Walmart for age discrimination.
- Are Americans unprepared to manage their own 401(k) funds?
- When her husband fell unconscious while flying a small plane, Helen Collins, 80, took control and landed the aircraft herself.
- And some boomers have been seeking treatment to stop their voices from sounding “old.” Doctors and therapists use a variety of approaches to ward off aging effects on patients’ voices, from vocal-function exercises to laryngeal surgery to collagen injections that plump thinning vocal cords.
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