Why 1 in 5 US workers won't retire

That's compared with 1 in 8 around the world and is just an extension of America's culture of overworking.

By Jason Notte Sep 19, 2013 8:54AM
Image: Senior man sitting at desk with computer © Andersen Ross, Brand X Pictures, Getty ImagesRemember when we suggested that you're never going to retire? Check that: One out of every eight workers around the world can forget about Boca, golf carts and closets full of cruisewear.

Like those odds? You shouldn't if you're a U.S. worker. The 12% figure for workers around the world who won't retire jumps to 18% in the U.S., according to a report by HSBC obtained by CNNMoney.

Blame whatever scapegoat you'd like: High unemployment, low wage growth, stunted savings and greater longevity are issues in France (where 12% can't afford to retire), China (7%) and Brazil (5%) as well.

Yet U.S. workers and the poor sods in the U.K., where 19% don't think they'll have enough cash to retire, are the ones doing all the fretting. What's driving the disproportionate pessimism? Fear and frustration.

In the U.S., more than 91% of U.S. workers do work-related tasks on their personal time. Of those, 37% devote more than 10 off-the-clock hours to work each week and a full 50% work while they are on vacation.

Why? Because 43% of U.S. workers are afraid they're going to have their benefits cut, an additional 31% see a pay cut in their future and 29% are worried they'll be laid off.

Meanwhile, members of Generation X keep hearing that being born at the wrong time will pretty much ensure that they never retire. It's already looking grim, as nearly 30% of Americans ages 65 through 69 are still employed, trailing only Korea (42.5%) and Japan (37%) and far outpacing France (6%) and Germany (10%).

It's not as if those Americans will all be retiring in their 70s, either. The Census Bureau says that the number of 70- to 74-year-olds in the workforce has increased 5% since 1990, while those 75 and older took up 1% more jobs than they did 23 years ago.

Maybe you're one of the lucky ones who'll get to retire, but take a look around your job site. Someone your age at the water cooler will still be there long after your last day.

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Sep 19, 2013 9:05AM
the progression to 3rd world status continues unabated! 
Sep 19, 2013 11:16AM
I lost my job last October and when unemployment ran out, I went on early Social Security because I was unable to find a job.  This was totally unexpected because retirement was never in my head but, guess what - I love it.  I'm making it work.  I don't have a boatload of money, but I am very frugal and spend very little on myself.  Ten years ago I made a great salary, but now at 64 nobody wants to hire me.  I am thinking of getting a holiday job for a little extra income, but would never look for another full-time job because I'm lovin retirement so much.  This is the first free time I have had since I was a kid and believe me, I'm really enjoying myself.  Peeps, if you can do it, I highly recommend retirement.
Sep 19, 2013 10:10AM

The Government wants people to work until we die.Pay a lot of taxes a long the way.The last

thing our public servants want to do is something for the public.

Sep 19, 2013 10:04AM

Being a bit optimistic aren't we? More like two out of three won't be able to retire, and it has nothing to do with a culture of overwork. It's because people overspend during their working years and save little or nothing for retirement.

Sep 19, 2013 9:58AM
According to MSN articles, we're now up to 15% (46 million) of the US population living on food stamps and defined as being in poverty.  I only see that going up in the future as well as our national debt, the incompetence in government, and our strive towards communism.  

I don't know how anyone can call us the most powerful nation in the world anymore with the way we've fallen behind in education, the amount of freedom we have, and the rise in oppression and government intervention.  We are in the final stages of our great civilization and will slowly edge toward that great collapse that every other major civilization has experienced (i.e greeks, romans, incas, etc., etc.).  

It's also scary how MSN is censoring most articles now.  You can't post anything labeled as AP (Associated Press) because they know how much back lash they would receive.  
Sep 19, 2013 10:48AM
How many have abused the 126 welfare programs and/or disability that have always been retired on my dime?
Sep 19, 2013 10:01AM

OUr standards of retiring are just much higher.  When my grandfather retired, he had a small, paid for house and enough retirement to meet his minor expenditures each month.  Now we feel we need to have a vacation retirement.  There is nothing wrong with that, but when you make that your goal, it is a little harder to achieve and will take some extra time.

Not to mention, it isn't like we spent our lives working in a steel mill doing hard labor.  You can do a desk job for a lot longer than you could in yesterday's industrial society.

Sep 19, 2013 11:19AM
I know of several people who will work till they die, because they had to cash in their retirement and savings to keep their child or wife alive.  The cost of cancer is so high, it bankrupts many, even after they've cashed in everything they own.  Oh, by the way, these people had all different kinds of insurance too.
Sep 19, 2013 11:14AM

People need to learn how to tighten their belts.I see parents giving their kids everything they

want.Can`t anybody say "no" to their kids?We would have been told to earn our own money

if we wanted every high tech device.

Sep 19, 2013 11:13AM

Take responsibility for your own retirement and do not count on the government. The gov has shown it cannot be trusted once again by robbing SS for pork projects.

Do not blame the government, blame the retards that keep voting for the same two loser parties. Why, why, why????

Sep 19, 2013 9:46AM
Yeah, there's a bunch of stats here that are missing.  For example, what percentage of the population will even survive long enough to see 62 or 65?

Also, retirement needs to be defined.  Some "retired" people work because they want to.  If you've been working 60 hr weeks for your entire life and cut that back to 20 hours, it probably feels like you're retired.  If you're 70 years old and spend 40 hours a week gardening and selling vegetables or flowers at a farmers' market, is that retired?  What if you're 65 and you're flipping houses - are you retired?
Sep 19, 2013 12:08PM

I lived from paycheck to paycheck most of my life.   Most of my life I was very depressed because I could not afford to have a hobby. 


The majority of the population is in my shoes.  You can't save for retirement if you are struggling to survive in the present.  We are not all in high paying jobs.  But I have worked all my life since I was 16 years old and went to school at the same time.  I have struggled all my life and lived an honest life.  I never mooched off anyone or try to defraud people into giving me money.  I didn't marry so I could have someone's extra paycheck.


I don't understand why people are so damn negative always talking about freeloaders and those who rob the welfare system.  After getting laid off 3 yrs. ago and not being able to find a job, and my friends know how hard I worked at job hunting but my age is against me.  I had no choice but to go on Welfare and food stamps which sucked big time and put me in a terrible depression worse than ever.  $200 a month of food stamps is not enough money to buy food for the entire month.  I was forced into retirement and am in poor health now.  I have to move to the boondocks because it's the only place I can find an affordable apartment. 


Most people are not lucky in life and there are too many lucky people who keep bad mouthing those people that are not lucky.  There is so little empathy and compassion for others in a country with so much knowledge and yet the prejudice is so high.


Thank God we are living in America.  However, everything is very expensive and keeps getting higher and higher especially medication, doctor visits, housing, groceries, etc., etc.,   A lot of people work past 65 yrs. old because they cannot afford to live on social security and not all jobs give you a pension.  Just because you have a job doesn't mean you can live comfortable.  And for those of us laid off in our middle ages, we are royally screwed.  After working since I was 16, never in my life did I think that I would end up poor and forced to retire way before my time.   Our country has gone back in time when the majority of the population was just striving to survive.  Life is not easy for the majority of people even in America.  I am writing this in the hope to inform and enlighten all the lucky ones that most people are not freeloaders and scamming any government system.


I have been suffering so much for the last 3 years of my life and it sucks big time.  I don't want to see anyone in my position, but I know too many ex-coworkers worse off than me and none of it was through our own fault.



Sep 19, 2013 11:12AM
I guess what I think of is all those people who are on generationalwelfare who have never worked, worked for cash, or maybe worked a little but draw on resources they have not contributed to.  A family member of mine, an alcoholic, recently got on disability and Medicaid.  He is receiving all sorts of services that I will never be able to afford.  He hasn't worked in at least 20 years.  Man, I sure wish  I could go get my teeth fixed and not have to pay a dime.  In addition to a monthly check he also receives other freebies such as food stamps and a house to live in for free...................  Life-long retirement - must be nice.
Sep 19, 2013 11:07AM
Sep 19, 2013 11:24AM

Those of us who worked and saved for retirement from day 1 of our working lives are in excellent shape.  Most of those made plans not only for finances but for retirement activities as well.  I am one of those and my wife and family have benefited from our planning.  We enjoyed our lives prior to retirement without macmansions, luxury cars $10,000 watches,$1,000 suites, $2500 dresses, $250 Shoes etc. etc. etc. We don't have them now either but we do have substantial income from savings accumulated from a single income (mine) of substantially under $60,000 per year, $52,000 to be exact, with no overtime or profit sharing.  My wife stayed home and raised our children (her wish).


 Most of those in trouble and unable to retire have only themselves to blame.

Those who think they can have everything now AND everything when they retire are either stupid or delusional or blame it on the politicians.  You don't like them, vote them out, otherwise start taking care of your and your family needs by thinking and planning 

Sep 19, 2013 9:28AM

The assumption here is that people want to retire, but can't afford to.  Modern medical technology is keeping people healtier longer.  Mom (69) and pops (76) are still working full-time together, like their work and like still earning more money as well.  You get old, you need something to keep you busy, something you enjoy.... a bonus if it's something that makes money too!

Sep 19, 2013 10:48AM
Unlike the line from the Robert Palmer song "There's no tellin' where the money went," we know where the money went (money from cuts to retirement, health care, wages, and increased productivity). It went to the rich. Their goal is you work more for less, and they get richer from it.
Sep 19, 2013 11:26AM
Does anyone know the REAL dilemma here?  It's called overspending during your working years along with no saving for your retirement years.  I saw this my entire working life and I'm still seeing it.  Everybody just had to have the biggest house on the block, the newest and most expensive car, and take the most lavish vacations.  Well, this is the result.  May you enjoy working until you drop.
Sep 19, 2013 11:56AM

what did you think was going to happen when we passed free trade/job outsourcing. The jobs you needed to be able to retire were going to be outsourced. The divide between the rich and the rest of us was going to grow. When you get things cheaper its because an american lost his job. Look what its doing to our young and our standard of living.

Sep 19, 2013 10:27AM
When it comes to journalism MSN Money is the armpit of the world.
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