|By Dave Larsen, Dayton Daily News, Ohio|
Hennessey is one of the so-called "unretired," a growing number of older Americans who are working full- or part-time after they reach traditional retirement age and become eligible to receive
The percentage of workers ages 65 and older who are still in the nation's labor force has been rising, particularly over the last decade, according to a
Experts attributed the rising number of people who work past normal retirement age to a variety of factors, including financial responsibilities and longer life spans. From 1950 to 2000, the average duration of retirement increased from 10.9 to 19.3 years for men and from 12.5 to 23.5 years for women, according to the
"There is a huge fear of outliving our money," said
Twenty-two percent of U.S. workers said the age at which they expect to retire has increased in the last year, according to the
For most of the 20th century, people withdrew from the workforce at progressively younger ages as Americans became wealthier, said
"Now the tide has reversed and people are working until later in life," Burtless said.
Labor force participation rates for men and women ages 62 to 79 started to climb in the mid-1990s, in part because of changes in the
This trend is expected to continue as the population ages. The
Burtless said the rising rate of people who are working until they're older "tends to be concentrated among better educated people." Workers are now remaining in their "career jobs" longer beyond age 60 than they were 25 years ago, he said.
"It's not all people quitting their career jobs and then working as a greeter at
Many jobs today have little or no physical demands, which allows older worker to perform them until later in life, Hannon said. Some people also continue working for the mental and social engagement of their workplace.
Employer-sponsored retirement accounts remain key to workers' ability to retire, experts said. However, over the past several decades many employers have shifted from defined benefit pension plans, which offer employees an annuity at retirement, to defined contribution plans such as 401(k) plans.
Defined contribution plans reduce costs for companies and place more of the risk associated with funding retirement on employees. Under such plans, a worker's benefits during retirement depend on their contributions to and the investment performance of their account, rather than on their years of service and earnings history.
About half of the U.S. workforce doesn't have an employer-provided pension, according to the
"We are not getting richer as fast as we used to and the system that supports us in old age has stopped becoming more generous," Burtless said.
In addition, many workers have not saved sufficient money for retirement. Federal Reserve data released last year said 40 percent of American households near retirement age have no retirement accounts. Among the 60 percent in that 55-64 age group who have retirement accounts, the median balance is about
"I've always worked for a small company, so I've had to do on my own," said Hennessey, the 72-year-old office manager at CUC in
People who work past retirement age can benefit from additional earning years, as well as the opportunity to grow their various retirement and savings accounts. "The longer you can keep chipping in there, your
Fewer employers are offering retired workers medical benefits. "The longer you can keep a job that gives you access to a health plan, the better off you are going to be," she said.
A number of area retirees told the
"I was too young for
Lai planned to retire at 65 from Meijer, but continues working because she enjoys her co-workers and customers. Her paycheck now supplements a 401(k) plan from her former employer and her
"I have a highly competitive horse and an expensive hobby," Kinnear said.
Wilson enjoys having the money and flexibility to travel, but he warned that retirees who return to work can be hit hard by taxes. "Sometimes it will drive people up into a higher bracket," he said.
Older workers could see a reduction in their
"For every year that you delay taking your
The growing number of retired people who remain in the workforce could impact job prospects for younger workers, experts said.
Burtless said the U.S. labor market has suffered a jobs shortage since 2008 and many older workers have the advantage of already having a job. "It does appear that the younger people of labor force-entry ages are being hurt by virtue of the fact that older people are hanging on to their jobs longer," he said.
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|Source:||McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|