Baby Boomers Delaying Retirement

By CityTownInfo.com Staff

February 13, 2009

The economic downturn is causing many baby boomers to rethink their retirement plans.

MSNBC [from an article originally located at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29033281/] reports that according to a new economic survey from the AARP, more than a third of workers in Washington state are considering delaying retirement, while 20 percent of those retired are considering returning to the workforce.

Meanwhile, PRNewswire quotes the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which notes that the share of Americans over 55 who have jobs has risen during the recession, while the share of younger Americans in the workforce has plunged.

According to Joan Strewler-Carter and Stephen Carter, co-founders of the Life Options Institute, an organization focused on planning for life after age 50, the statistics are not surprising given the economic climate. "Today," they noted in PR Newswire, "with 401(k) plan assets down sharply, the decline in traditional employer-sponsored pension and retiree health plans, the increase in Social Security's retirement, and housing values not worth what they once were, many baby boomers are either delaying retirement or seeking a return to the workforce."

The trend towards delaying retirement has far-reaching economic implications: As more Americans over 50 remain longer in the workforce, less jobs become available for younger Americans.

The AARP study also indicates that baby boomers are concerned about affording healthcare costs. About a quarter have stopped contributing towards retirement plans, and 14 percent are withdrawing retirement funds and incurring enormous penalties.

"It's been pretty stressful," said Kim Sheldon, who lives in Washington state and was quoted on MSNBC. "We're kind of concerned. We see our retirement disappearing."

Troy, New York's The Record quotes Thomas Cumm, who worked for 33 years as a Pfizer pharmaceutical sales representative before retiring in March 2007 at age 55. Originally intending to live off his Individual Retirement Account (IRA), he is now being forced to draw against its greatly-devalued principal. Cumm hopes the market will rebound, but until then, he's considering finding a part-time job.

"There's a lot of people in my position," Cumm told The Record. "Everybody's worried that they won't have enough money. I started saving back in 1974, and I always saved the maximum allowed by law. It helped me build up a comfortable nest egg. But that nest egg has dropped precipitously since December 2007.

"We are in bad, bad times," he noted. "Our children could be the first generation in history that won't be as well off as their parents."

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