The changing attitudes and expectations of American workers regarding retirement have been measured in Sun Life Financial Inc.’s first “Unretirement Index.” Unretirement is defined as working at least 20 hours per week after reaching the age when one is eligible to receive full social security benefits.
The Unretirement Index measures consumer opinions toward five factors that impact retirement: the economy, personal finance, health, government benefits, and employer benefits. Sun Life’s research shows how attitudes are changing as the median age of Americans rises and more Baby Boomers prepare for decisions such as when to take social security and when to exit the workplace.
Forty-eight percent of the American workforce believes it will still be working at the traditional retirement age of 67 (29% say they plan to work part-time, and 19% say they plan to keep working full-time), and four of the five top reasons given weren’t financial in nature. Instead, the most cited reason for continuing to work (83%) was “to stay mentally engaged” — a finding consistent across all income levels and gender and age demographics.
While the average retirement age has gradually increased, the study found that younger generations are more often planning to retire at age 67 than their older counterparts. Fifty-eight percent of workers age 30-39 believe they will be retired at 67, compared to only 45 percent of those aged 60 and older.
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