Why Some Workers May Never Retire Credit: Retirement Image via Shutterstock

Workers are not optimistic about their retirement prospects. In fact, in the past two years, the number of workers ages 45 to 60 who say they are expecting to delay their retirement has grown significantly.  

New research reveals that 62 percent of workers between the ages of 45 and 60 now say they will work into their golden years to meet retirement goals. That number was up from 42 percent in 2010.  

"It's disconcerting that the two years in which the U.S. economy seemed to finally, if fitfully, turn the corner also left so many more workers compelled to change their retirement plans late in their careers," said Gad Levanon, director of macroeconomic research at The Conference Board and a co-author of the report. "This may benefit some businesses and industries, by reducing labor shortages and skill gaps as experienced workers stick around. At the same time, their delaying retirement can be a significant obstacle to the many companies seeking to cut costs. Mapping out the implications of the trend for individual firms and the economy as a whole means first understanding the drivers behind workers' retirement decisions."

Research also revealed that more people are delaying retirement because they have cut into savings in recent years.  In fact, 62 percent of workers between the ages of 45 and 60 say they have had at least a 20 percent decline in the value of their financial assets since 2010.

Not surprisingly, workers who experienced job loss, a salary cut or decline in home price were more likely to say they planned to delay their retirement. Research also revealed that the number of people who experienced those misfortunes rose in the past two years.

"The cumulative effect of drawing down assets in hard times — including the loss of future gains during the recovery — helps explain the current plight of older workers," said Ben Cheng, co-author of the report. "Even as economic conditions improve, many are still relying on assets to get by. And even those who've made it through the worst find themselves needing to work past retirement age to rebuild savings." 

The research was a part of the Conference Board paper titled "Trapped on the Worker Treadmill?"

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