Financial Literacy 2007 - Retirement
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Work until you die: A new retirement goal

Nearly one out of five individuals expects to work until they die.

That's among the most startling findings of a recent Bankrate-sponsored survey of Americans' attitudes toward retirement.

The poll of nearly 700 non-retired adults nationwide also found that one-quarter of all adults (28 percent) save less than 5 percent of their gross pay a year. That includes 16 percent of Americans who acknowledged they are not putting any of their paycheck aside for retirement. Even so, optimism about life in retirement remains high. Six out of 10 Americans "never worry" or worry "not very much" about outliving their retirement savings.

What's your target age for retirement? 'I will work until I die'

65+ group was a small base size
Source: 2007

Such optimism isn't entirely misplaced. Among the brighter surprises: younger workers aren't just plugged into iPods. They've apparently heard, and taken note, of messages to start saving for retirement as early as possible. Many individuals who are relatively new to the workforce are stashing large amounts of their pay into fledgling nest eggs. That's true even for those with relatively modest salaries.

Working until you die? Depends on your age
Nearly four of 10 seniors surveyed say they plan on working until death. And, 21 percent of those between the ages of 35 and 64 predict that they'll be working forever, too. Only 9 percent of 25-to-35-year-olds expect to work permanently. Yet, 19 percent of the youngest age group, 18 to 24 year olds, sees work as a forever thing. Our poll, conducted by GfKRoper, did not survey anyone who was already retired. And the base size of the young set was small.

What's your target age for retirement? I will work until ...

Source: 2007

"If you're age 65, one of the key things that keeps you coming to work is the desire to avoid touching your IRA and nest egg for as long as you can," says Tim Driver, founder of the Web site, "Many of these people have lived through the Depression. They grew up in an environment where watching pennies was the norm. Many of them are working for healthcare, too. It's by far and away the largest concern for that group."

Driver notes that the notion of retirement is changing. Instead of quitting and spending the last 20, 30 or even 40 years of unfettered leisure, older individuals hope to "downshift" their working lives. In some cases, they want to keep working in some capacity because they miss the intellectual and social interaction they get from a job. Other times they need the money.


So what about all that fuss about early retirement?

It's still a goal for many. When asked "What is your target date for retiring?" roughly one-quarter of all respondents (27 percent) planned on quitting in their 50s. The younger individuals were more likely to plan on an early exit; 38 percent of those between 18 and 34 plan on retiring in their 50s.

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