Retirement amongst the elderly in the US has changed dramatically over the last few decades. Reports show, the number of American elderly who refuse to retire increased twice over the years since 1985. It appears older workforce today have the same reason why single-income families vanished in the last century: they have no money.
According to new data gathered by the money manager United Income (PDF), for the first time in 57 years, the number of the labor force in the retirement age, 65 years and older, reached the 20% mark. Probable factors behind these rising figures are the unstable social safety nets, scarce retirement saving plans, and bulging health-care expenses. The result: the aging workforce fears retirement, instead of wanting to leave work.
Compared to 1985, when only 10 % of workers were elders 65 and above, the percentage doubles as of February this year. The rise in number is seen mostly in the college-educated elderly, where 65% at least have an undergraduate degree, compared to 25% in 1985.
The swell of 65-year-old laborers with college education pushed the inflation-adjusted income to about $78,000, which is 63% higher than in 1985, where the older workforce takes home about $48,000. Over the same period, there only had been an increase of 38% in the elderly’s income. These calculations are based on the recently released data from the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Elizabeth Kelly believes there’s an imbalance between elderly workers who need the income the most and those who can work and are still working. Kelly is the senior vice president of operations for United Income and a former special assistant to the president at the White House National Economic Council during the Obama administration.
Kelly said, “these are the more educated, wealthier individuals in better health who are continuing to work, but it’s probably their less-educated, working-class counterparts who need to work the most.”
“By 2024, baby boomers will have reached ages 60 to 78,” according to a BLS report. “And some of them are expected to continue working even after they qualify for Social Security benefits.”
An immense wave of baby boomers is expected to represent substantial growth in workforce rate around 2024. The number of retiring elders will not increase in the coming years, it appears. According to an economics professor at the New School for Social Research, Teresa Ghilarducci, her calculation shows that Social Security is replacing 40-50% of Americans’ pre-retirement income. Most people think that they need to have about 80% of their pre-retirement income before they can stop working.
Based on the research from Ghilarducci’s, workers in the bottom 50 percent of the income distribution, who have annual earnings of $40,000, have no retirement savings. Older workers in the middle 40 percent of the income distribution, bearing revenues between $40,000 to $115,000 a year, have an average savings of $60,000. On the other hand, those who are in the top 10 percent of the income distribution, earning $115,000 a year have an average savings of $200,000.
Based on Ghilarducci’s calculations, a typical college-educated worker can comfortably retire with savings “over $1 million or 2.” Answering why more people in the retirement age choose to stay working.
Check out this video that delves deeper into the subject :