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Boomers calling it quits by 65

By Jennie L. Phipps ·
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Posted: 3 pm ET

Boomers are leaving the workforce in droves. Given how lousy the economy has been the last few years, I found this a surprising retirement planning phenomenon. My guess would have been that most people would look at their diminished savings and conclude, given the continuing economic uncertainty, to stay on the job. But according to a new MetLife survey, that's just not the way it is.

MetLife found that 45 percent of 65-year-old boomers are now fully retired, up from 19 percent in 2008. Another 14 percent say they are officially retired but working part time or seasonally.

Of those people older than 65 and still working, about 50 percent anticipate being able to retire before they turn 70 years old, with 37 percent saying they plan to retire in 2012. On average, these respondents say they hope to retire by age 68.5.

The chart below explains people's reasons for the decision they made to retire early or late. It doesn't reflect the biggest reason people cited for retiring no matter when they did it -- 36 percent said they'd reached retirement age, and they wanted to quit. Another 18 percent said they hung up their work boots for health reasons. Only 6 percent said they'd lost their jobs and couldn't find another. Fewer than 2 percent are job hunting.

Overall, very few retirees had regrets. Some 70 percent of those who are already retired say they like retirement "a lot," while another 20 percent say they like it "somewhat."

My husband will turn 66 in June, and he's still working -- hard. I worry that he's missing out on some great years when he could have the freedom and good health to enjoy new experiences and challenges without the pressure of a high-stress job. When I bring this up, he says he likes the job, he likes the money, and he doesn't know what else he'd do all day.

If you're a 65- or 66-year-old boomer who is still on the job, how do you feel about being in the workforce?

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Bob Ramos
June 03, 2012 at 6:27 am

I retired in 1994 from the federal government in good health and will good pension and benefits. I lasted about 90 days in retirement. During that time, I almost went nuts. I started my own business and am still working full time although my son has enabled me to work about 20 hours a week. Even if you can afford it, do not retire. I had a friend that retired right after me. His wife said he would go to the golf club to play golf but would just sit in the bar drinking beer and talking to the bar keep almost all day. That was the high point of his day. He lasted about 6 months when he passed away. STAY ACTIVE AND STAY AROUND YOUNG PEOPLE. That is the big secret.

June 01, 2012 at 11:47 pm

Hell I quit at 60! Thankfully I bought a load of Apple stock several years ago, my $300k is now $1M! My broker was horrified when I asked to move my stock in my IRA to Apple and even made me sign a document stating he was against it. I left some stocks in his hand, they are worthless.

June 01, 2012 at 6:20 pm

I'm just two months shy of my 64th birthday but have no plans to retire anytime soon. As a civil engineer working for state gov't I have a great benefits plan with full medical coverage that I cannot afford otherwise. I don't have enough cash saved yet, don't trust the stock market, and I like my job. I'll probably work till I'm at least 68, maybe even 70. In today's economy you don't want to give up a good job unless you've got all your ducks lined up just right or you've won a few million in the lottery first.

June 01, 2012 at 10:33 am

I retired just before I turned 65. I mainly have health (mobility) issues. However, after 30 years I qualified for my full pension from my job as well as had saved a nice amount in my 401k and am drawing my husbands SSI with the ability to change to my own at 70.

I enjoy not going to work everyday and have discovered that that I can live comfortably on what my income is now.

Richard Broderick
May 31, 2012 at 9:35 am

@Glenda. You can't get full retirement SS at age 64 and never could. Saying you'll never retire is for 50 something's and younger. Then the reality of life hits you. Note The statistic about health reasons being the biggest reason for retirement. The younger you the more immortal you are. And, of course, your employer has something to say about it.

May 30, 2012 at 6:50 pm

My brother in law drew his full SS benefits, at age 64, and kept working full time,for another 2 or 3 years. He had 2 full checks coming in every month. It's good he finally retired by age 67 or 68, because now he's 72 and has cancer. At least he had a few years of retirement, before this happened.

Gary Anderson
May 30, 2012 at 12:32 pm

People regret staying too long in the workforce. It attacks your health! But you have to have something to do like ebook writing. I have made a lot of people happy, retiring at age 62 and writing the ebook, Dirty Dirty Republicans and others

Bill Freeman
May 30, 2012 at 9:47 am

I was forced to retire at 62 due to downsizing 6 years ago. I wish I was still working. Inflation is killing me. There is no place to invest savings. I miss my friends at work. I loved my job. Medicle costs are killing me. Even though I am retired I still have to pay tons of taxes. Think twice before you voluntary retire! Crunch all the numbers and don't forget taxes that have to be paid on 401k and regular IRA accounts.