- A growing number of workers ages 50 and older have plans to work past the typical retirement age, and many of these workers cite reasons for doing so other than financial need, according to a report published Feb. 9 by the nonprofit Easterseals and Voya Cares, a program of Voya Financial.
- The two organizations surveyed more than 1,000 “employment extenders” — a term that refers to U.S. workers working past traditional retirement age. While 43% said covering immediate expenses or retirement costs was a major motivation, 60% said they worked because they were still healthy and able, 58% were doing so to keep their minds active and 56% were doing so because work gave them a sense of purpose.
- Still, 92% of respondents said they needed or wanted more money for retirement, and only 22% said they strongly agreed that they were confident that they had enough money to live comfortably in retirement. Sixty percent said they had less than $500,000 in retirement savings.
After the COVID-19 pandemic placed many older workers at risk of accelerated retirement, 2022 saw increasing interest in returning to work among retirees. A Resume Builder poll published last year found that 1 in 5 retiree respondents said they were likely to head back to work, 19% of whom planned to return to their previous employer.
As the Easterseals and Voya Cares report notes, however, the cause of this sentiment varies. The two organizations noted four profile groups in their analysis of the survey data. While some respondent groups were primarily motivated by a need to work or by financial needs, others said they enjoyed working or wanted to transition away from previous careers.
"Employers and employees often believe that, once an individual reaches a certain age, it's time for them to start thinking about retirement, but the trend toward continuing to retire later in life, or not at all, is growing,” Kendra Davenport, president and CEO at Easterseals, said in a statement accompanying the report.
Whatever their reasons for doing so, older workers face hurdles when seeking to return to work, according to a 2022 ZipRecruiter survey. The company found that employers may overlook older workers, particularly in industries with employee demographics that trend younger. Other potential barriers include the online nature of job searches as well as age discrimination.
Employers also may be able to play an enhanced role in helping employers prepare for retirement — a strategy that could appeal to workers of all ages. A recent Vestwell survey found that nearly 9 in 10 employees said employers should be involved in retirement education.