By: Nanci Hellmich
February 27, 2014
Americans are still putting retirement on the back burner, but not just for financial reasons, according to a new survey. Many say they need the health insurance and benefits, and half say they just enjoy their jobs.
And although the numbers are down from the years after the Great Recession, the majority of pre-retirees still say they simply can't afford to retire.
About 58% of workers 60 and older say they are currently delaying retirement, compared with a peak of 66% of people this age who were putting off retirement in 2010, after the Great Recession.
Still, within four years, half say they'll be able to retire.
When asked the reasons for the delay: 79% say they can't afford to retire; 61% say they need health insurance and other benefits; 49% enjoy their jobs; 46% enjoy where they work; 27% are afraid retirement will be boring.
Women (71%) in this age group are more likely to say they will put off retiring than men (49%). In fact, 18% of women this age say they'll never be able to retire vs. 7% of men.
The findings are based on a national survey of 433 full-time workers, ages 60 and older, and 2,201 hiring and human resource managers. It was conducted in late 2013 by Harris Poll for CareerBuilder, which is jointly owned by the Tribune Co., The McClatchy Co. and USA TODAY parent Gannett Co.
When people hit 60, many begin to seriously plan for their retirement, but first they must consider other factors that could delay it, including when their Medicare benefits are going to kick in. Others may be concerned with their own financial health because they're helping their children who are still feeling the effects of the economic downturn, says Michael Erwin, senior career adviser for CareerBuilder.com.
It's not just money and benefits that are keeping people in the workforce, Erwin says "Many people love their jobs and love the people they work with. They like getting up and going to work. They like the routine. The thought of having to sit home and come up with a plan every day is not for everybody, but it works for some."
The survey showed that 45% of people 60 and older say they'll look for other work when they retire. That's down from 60% who said that in late 2012. Top choices for post-retirement employment: Consulting, retail and customer service work.
This age group is "resourceful, and they'll figure out how to continue to work if that's something they want to do," Erwin says.
How much you need for retirement is complicated because there are so many variables, including your essential expenses (food, housing, health care) and discretionary expenses (travel, clothes, entertainment, dining out), says Fidelity Investments executive vice president John Sweeney. "Everybody's situation is going to be a little different."
People often underestimate how long they are going to live, he says. "A quarter of us will live into our early 90s, so we are really planning for a retirement that could last 30 years."
All that said, Fidelity offers this rule of thumb: Save at least eight times your final salary to help increase the odds that you won't outlive your savings during 30 years in retirement. This amount assumes that you'll get some money from Social Security and that your expenses after you retire will be lower than when you were working, Sweeney says. Higher net-worth folks usually need to save more than eight times their final salary, he says.
When saving for retirement, the rule of thumb is you should be saving 10% to 15% of your gross income, Sweeney says.
Other survey data show that more workers plan to delay retirement. In 1991, 11% of workers expected to retire after age 65. But in 2013, 36% expected to wait until after age 65, and 7% said they don't plan to retire at all, according to the 2013 Retirement Confidence Survey of 1,003 workers and 251 retirees from the Employee Benefit Research Institute and Mathew Greenwald and Associates. And although 69% of workers say they plan to work for pay after they retire, only 25% of retirees report working for pay since they retired, that survey showed.