Study Finds Boomers Continuing to Retire
DESPITE THE POPULAR BELIEF that baby boomers will continue
to work well past the traditional retirement age of 65, those born in
1946 are retiring in droves, according to Transitioning into Retirement:
The MetLife Study of Baby Boomers at 65. The study is a follow up to
the 2008 MetLife Mature Market Institute study, Boomer Bookends: Insights into the Oldest and Youngest Boomers (released in 2009), which
looked at the same segment of boomers at age 62 and includes 450 of
the same interview subjects from the original study.
The study reports that 59 percent
of the first boomers to turn 65 are at
least partially retired— 45 percent are
completely retired, and 14 percent are
retired but working part-time. Of those
still working, 37 percent say they’ll retire
in the next year and on average plan to do
so by the time they’re 68. Half ( 51 percent) of those who are retired say they
retired earlier than they had expected. Of
those who retired early, 4-in- 10 say they
did so for health reasons. The majority
(85 percent) of respondents consider
themselves healthy, and almost all (96
percent) retirees say they like retirement
at least somewhat. Seven-in- 10 ( 70 percent) like it a lot.
Almost two-thirds, 63 percent of respondents, are already collecting Social
Security benefits and on average began
doing so at the age of 63, defying the
conventional wisdom that people would
choose to wait to receive benefits until a
later age in order to receive a higher pay-out. Among those in the survey, just over
60 percent are confident that the Social
Security system will be able to provide
adequate benefits for their lifetime.
Regarding the attitude of these respondents, the data show that 43 percent
of those polled are optimistic about the
future. Of the 19 percent who are pessimistic about what’s ahead, 49 percent
fault the government and 21 percent
blame the economy. The 65-year-old
boomers do not consider themselves old;
average, that the majority feel they’re
in good health and that 83 percent have
grandchildren. Overall, it’s a pretty con-
fident group of Americans.”
■ ■ The average retirement age for the
1946 boomers is 59. 7 for men and 57. 2
■ ■ 24 percent have a living parent.
■ ■ 84 percent are parents; 83 percent are
grandparents, up from 77 percent in
■ ■ Of those not retired, 61 percent plan
to retire at the same age as they
planned one year ago.
■ ■ 31 percent of 65-year-old boomers
think they were at their sharpest
mentally in their 40s; only 20 percent
say they’re at their sharpest today.
■ ■ Homeownership increased significantly among the studied cohort since
2008, from 85 percent to 93 percent.
■ ■ 71 percent are married or in a domestic partnership; 12 percent are
divorced or separated; 10 percent are
widowed; and 7 percent are single.
on average they won’t consider themselves to be old until they’re age 79, a year
older than reported in 2007.
“Many of the bomers weathered the
recession well and have been able to
stop working. Half of all boomers feel
confident that they are on track or have
already hit their retirement goals,” said
Sandra Timmermann, director of the
MetLife Mature Market Institute. “We
found that more are homeowners today
than 2008, that the value of their homes
decreased by only about 5. 2 percent on
Transitioning into Retirement: The
MetLife Study of Baby Boomers at 65 was
conducted by Gfk Custom Research
North America on behalf of the MetLife
Mature Market Institute in November
2011. A total of 1,012 respondents born
in 1946 were surveyed by random digit-dial telephone contact. The sample was
among 942 respondents from the 2008
study who agreed to be recontacted.
A total of 450 respondents completed
the follow-up survey. The sample was
supplemented by an additional sample
of 562 respondents from Dunhill. Data
were weighted by demographics to be
representative of the total U.S. baby
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