A survey from the Federal Reserve last week provided some clues. Around 21% of people said their plan for retirement is simply “to work as long as possible” and the number of people giving this response increases by age.
Conversely, the traditional way to retire – working full-time in a career until ceasing work altogether – is the plan for 35% of people in their 20s. But by the time they reach their 60s, only 15% say it will be their route.
For at least some Americans, the rise in labor force participation at old age signals that retirement is simply out of reach. Surveys from Gallup have found that people who believe they can afford to retire generally tend to do so the earliest. The wealthy businessmen or distinguished town doctors who are in good health and just enjoy their work too much to ever step aside are the exception, not the rule...
This chart’s downward slope shows fewer men working at every age. But, at any given age, more men are working in the year 2013 than were in 2000. At the turn of the century, for example, about 66% of 60-year-old men and 20% of 70 year old men were still in the labor force. Today, that’s risen to 72% and 25% respectively.
The trend is also true for women. At every age, women are more likely to work than they were just 13 years ago.
But people are still retiring. Every birthday after 55 sees fewer and fewer men and women in the labor force. The oldest Baby Boomers are now nearing 70 when 20% of women and 25% of men work. Among 55-year-old Boomers, 70% of women and 80% of men work.This is a very interesting trend and something I wish that the American Chemical Society would keep track of a little more than it does. We know that the Society is getting older -- what does that look like for rank-and-file industrial members? How hard has it been for them to transition to other positions? Hmmm.