1/28/2013 2:25 PM ET|
Sorry, you're never going to retire
The Census Bureau finds more people over age 65 in the workforce than ever as benefits shrink.
They don't mean it's going to take a long time. Their numbers state, flat out, that it's never going to happen for a growing number of Americans. No boat, no Jimmy Buffett albums, no poolside pina coladas, no morning golf and evening buffets and certainly no socks and sandals unless Home Depot (HD) or Lowe's (LOW) change their dress code for receipt checkers.
Back in 1990, only 12.1% of Americans 65 and older were still working. By 2010, that percentage jumped to 16.1%. That's a whole lot of folks getting teased by AARP catalogs, but an especially large number of disappointed 65- to 69-year-olds. Back in 1990, only 21.8% of that group was still employed, compared to 30.8% in 2010.
It's not as if you'll be retiring in your 70s, either, as the number of 70- to 74-year-olds in the workforce increased 5% during that span, while those 75 and older took up 1% more jobs than they did 23 years ago.
Oh, and don't expect your kids or grandkids to bail you out, either. In their eyes, you're just stealing their jobs. Employment among 16- to 64-year-olds dropped from 75.6% in 1990 to 74% two decades later as retirement age workers either clung to their old jobs or took new entry-level gigs.
As the Washington Post illustrated in November, those dreaming of the retirement their parents and grandparents had may never see those Arizona golf carts or Florida jitney buses in their lifetimes. The Center For Retirement Research says that fewer than a third of U.S. workers have a pension, down from 44% in 1995 and 88% in Reagan-era 1983. As the recent economic downturn showed, even the most thought-out 401k-based retirement plan can get slapped unconscious by the invisible hand of the market. Social Security, you say? Yeah, that's not repeatedly on the government chopping block or anything.
The only hope most retirees have, according to the Census Bureau, is to move to a place where the problem isn't nearly so acute. If you're in the Northeast, plains states or even normally flush spots like Texas and Alaska, you and your peers should be prepared to work as long as you live. If you like the South, the Pacific Northwest or even Midwest and Great Lakes states like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, there's a chance you may get to relax a bit in your later years. In just about every state, though, retirement's going to be a pleasant daydream for at least 15% of those over 65.
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