Retirement age is continuing to rise, according to a poll recently released by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Not to mention that a whopping 82% of Americans over the age of 50 say they’ll likely work for pay in retirement. According to the survey, about 47% of participants say they’re planning on retiring at a later age than they initially thought—with the average age being 66.
What’s causing the average American worker to delay retirement? Much of it has to do with the recent recession, from which most are only just beginning to recover. Stocks plummeted, pensions were lost, and many found that money they thought would be available no longer is. Many who had planned to retire earlier are now having to wait several more years just to be able to afford it.
According to a Gallup poll released in May 2013, the average retirement age is 61 years old. Just ten years ago, the average retirement age was 59; go back another ten years and it was 57. Though the recession has certainly impacted many, the biggest increase in retirement age occurred between 1991 and 2004, when it went from 57 to 60. And in 2010, two years after the recession, the average retirement age actually went down to 59 before jumping to 61 by 2013. And about 37% of non-retired Americans say they don’t plan on retiring until at least the age of 66—well beyond the average retiring age today.
But many of those nearing or already surpassing retirement age say they are happier working than they would be otherwise. Continuing to work can help individuals stay mentally, physically, and socially active—making the decision to continue working a trendier one than ever. The old stereotype of retiring and moving to a tropical paradise is shifting, with more people deciding that they want to take a different, more active path.
Americans also have a longer lifespan than ever before, and six in ten people report feeling younger than their age. And according to the AP poll, people are seen as “old” at an average age of 72.
“The definition of retirement has changed,” said Brad Glickman, a financial planner. “Now the question we ask our clients is, ‘What’s your job after retirement?”