As of February 2019, the ranks of people age 65 or older who are working or seeking paid work doubled from a low of 10 percent back in early 1985. The biggest spike in employment has gone to college-educated older workers; the share of all employees age 65 or older with at least an undergraduate degree is now 53 percent, up from 25 percent in 1985.
“By 2024, baby boomers will have reached age 60 to 78,” a BLS report noted. “And some of them are expected to continue working even after they qualify for Social Security benefits.”
The typical worker in the bottom 50 percent of the income distribution, earning less than $40,000 a year, has no retirement savings. Those in the middle 40 percent of income distribution, earning from $40,000 to $115,000, have a median amount of $60,000 saved, according to Ghilarducci’s research.
Workers in the top 10 percent of income distribution making more than $115,000, meanwhile, have a median amount of $200,000 saved.
Ghilarducci’s rough estimate of what a typical college-educated professional must amass to retire fairly comfortably? “Over $1 million or 2.” No wonder more people are working longer.
“Many of America’s elderly are now forgoing retirement for the same reason: They don’t have enough money.”
Why? Suzanne Woolley of Bloomberg Wealth explains the top reasons:
- Rickety social safety nets
- Inadequate retirement savings plans
- Sky high health-care costs
“For the first time in 57 years, the participation rate in the labor force of retirement-age workers has cracked the 20 percent mark.”