Recession has retirement age creeping upward

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One survey indicates the national retirement age is rising as a result of the economic recession, and while Coloradoans are working further into their golden years, it might not be just because of poor economic times.

Survey results released this week by Oakland, Calif.-based Golden Gateway Financial said half of all seniors’ net worth has decreased by 10 to 30 percent since the recession began during third quarter 2007.

As a result, many have been forced to rethink retirement prior to age 70.

The survey asked Americans aged 62 and older how the economic crisis was affecting their retirement plans.

“Even as some economists are increasingly optimistic, older Americans continue to feel real pain and must make hard tradeoffs and decisions,” said Eric Bachman, CEO of Golden Gateway Financial. “Ironically, this is the worst possible time for the 40 percent of seniors now considering delaying retirement to be searching for jobs. It’s unfortunate that the hopes and dreams of these retirees are being put on hold.”

Before the economic crisis, 67 percent of those surveyed planned to retire before age 70. That number has dropped to 40 percent.

Before 2007, 30 percent of the poll’s respondents said they planned to retire after age 70. Today almost 50 percent will wait until after 70 to leave the workforce.

Perhaps most strikingly, more than half of those surveyed said they are concerned that they’ll outlive their money, and won’t be able to sustain their retirement.

Here in Colorado, Mountain States Employers Council southern region director Kim Koy said those statistics seem to be on target.

MSEC surveys its 2,700 Colorado member companies regularly, and most are employing more older employees.

“We’ve definitely seen employees working longer, but I don’t think it’s always a result of the recession. The baby boomers don’t necessarily want to go from full-time retirement to not working at all,” she said. “We’ve seen an increase in the number of older workers who want to work part-time. If an employer can be flexible in scheduling, many employees have the talent and organizational history to contribute.” she said