A poll from the Associated Press / NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows that an overwhelming majority of Americans over the age of 50 say it is somewhat likely that they will keep working after they retire. About 82 percent of those surveyed said they will probably work for pay.

Retirement

Millions of Americans put off retirement

The same survey found that 47 percent of those who responded and were working are planning on retiring later than they thought previously. On average, they plan to retire at around the age of 66, which is almost three years later than their estimate at the age of 40. Men, those with children, those who earn less than $50,000 per year, minorities and those who do not have health insurance were more likely to delay retirement.

401(k) plans affecting retirement

Matt Sedensky of The Associated Press (via the Chicago Sun-Times) reports that retirement experts say many workers have seen a significant downward movement in their 401(k) plans, so they are planning on making up for that lost money by working longer.

About 75 percent of those who responded and were working said they had thought some or a great deal about their retirement. Of the factors which weighed on their decision about whether or not to put off retirement, 78 percent of them said financial needs were very or extremely important. Seventy-five percent said health was a factor, while 68 percent said their ability to perform their job was a factor. The survey showed that 67 percent cited the need for health insurance or other employer benefits as being important.

A change in retirement habits

While the financial crisis has undoubtedly played a role in the determination of when to retire, this shift is also part of a general trend. For about 50 years after the introduction of Social Security, senior labor force participation declined, but then in the late 1990s, it started picking up again. Now older adults make up the U.S. workforce’s fastest growing segments. Those aged 55 or older are expected to make up 25 percent of the civilian labor force by 2020.

The days when retirees quit working and never worked again appears to be gone. Another trend experts are beginning to see is older adults retiring but then looking for some sort of other job for pay. Of those who are retired, 4 percent are seeking a job, while 11 percent began working again. Those who were still working were more interested in continuing to work, with 47 percent of them saying they are very or extremely likely to work for pay after retiring. Thirty-five percent said they were somewhat likely.

You’re only as old as you feel

Another factor playing into the age when people retire is longer lifespans. Six out of 10 people said they feel younger than their age. Those who responded said the average age when people are old is now 72, although a fifth of them said it depended on the person.

About a third of those who retired said it wasn’t their choice to stop working. Eight percent said they were forced out of a job because of their age. Others cited health problems or layoffs and then not being able to find a job.