In the past, people would generally retire past the age of 60–65, however trends show that the retirement age is increasing and people could work well up to the age of 70–80. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that by 2028, around 23% of people aged 65 or older will continue to be in the workforce.
A significant proportion of workers continue to work as they simply can’t afford to retire. Rising prices, as well as an economy with stagnant wages, prohibit people to retire. Moreover, a significant proportion of those that remain in the workforce do so to pay off loans, mortgages or other debts. Recently, many older workers had to bear the brunt of the economic woes brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. 30% of seniors said that the pandemic had a “negative impact” on their retirement plans, while 21% said they tapped into one or more of their retirement accounts to pay for expenses.
Pensions have largely disappeared in the private sector. Nationally in the United States, 30% of workers over 65 have nothing saved in a retirement plan. There’s a growing number of seniors relying on Medicare and Medicaid.
Another reason for this trend could be increasing life expectancy. As life expectancy and healthcare technology have greatly increased since the advent of the 21st century, more and more workers are finding it physically possible to continue working into their retirement years.
Moreover, a significant proportion of workers continue to work out of personal choice. Work not only provides financial rewards, it also brings people friendships they want to continue and gives them a sense of purpose. Workers who enjoy their jobs are likely to continue working past the traditional retirement age.
As the birth rate in advanced countries continues to drop, the importance of older workers will only increase. It is possible that a need for workers to sustain the economy, as well as advances in healthcare will lead to a steady increase in the retirement age in the future.