Study: Only 20% of Men Working Past 65

Posted on March 13, 2006

The Seattle Times reports on a new study that indicates many men are not working past the 65-year retirement age.
Senior citizens are leaving the labor force sooner than they did 50 years ago, even though they are living longer, healthier lives, according to a landmark analysis of census data released Thursday.

This is one of several surprising findings in the report on aging, which comes as the first baby boomers are nearing retirement age. The oldest baby boomers turn 60 this year, and the new report suggests that many of them already have left the labor force.

The report attributes the declining work rate among older Americans to the growth in private pensions and Social Security and Medicare benefits. As benefits for older Americans grew in the last half of the 20th century, fewer saw the need to work beyond age 65, said Mitra Toossi, an economist at the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That may change as more companies turn away from guaranteed pensions and Social Security and Medicare face substantial deficits in coming decades.
It probably will change given the fact that people are living longer and we are facing another possible recession. If the housing bubble bursts many people may find they do not have as much wealth as they once had. A recent post on Workers Work discussed the fact that many boomers want or need to work past the retirement age. The 20% figure cited in the study is likely to start rising.