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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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April 14, 2012 at 11:53 pm

Am 66 and working actively in the south pacific on a US military base with lots of things to do and shopping, etc. Am quite happy with my life and whats going on here. Love the people am working with and think they keep me active and my brain and computer skills up to date. I have no plans to retire any time soon!!!

Gene Blodgett
April 14, 2012 at 7:44 am

I am 66, out of work 3 yrs because of back injury and cannot get a job due to meds needed for the pain. I am going to get RE license, so I can work for myself. Need the money to live on. Thank goodness for wife has good insurance. I have been doing woodworking in the garage to keep busy, but not much income from that.

April 12, 2012 at 6:38 pm

When I was hired by my former employer in 1971 at 24, they told me I could retire at 55 if I planned well. I did and I did. I have been retired for 9 years and have not regretted it one second. My parents died young and I watched 2 cousins delay retirement only to see them die wealthy without enjoying their money. If you plan early and live below your means, you can have a good retirement and not work all of your life.

April 12, 2012 at 12:45 pm

Turning 62 this year and have been thinking a lot about retiring. I am financially able to do so with military retirement VA disability and a 401K, but my concerns are that my hobbies will not keep me busy enough. I bike, fish, and enjoy spending time with my wife, but I feel that I need time to just work, keep my mind engaged, and support others.
I do believe that we that are older need to get out of the way so that younger workers will have opportunities, but at the same time do not want to feel put out to pasture.
A lot to think about, choices to make and lots of life to life.

April 11, 2012 at 6:15 pm

I'm out of here at 62 if I can hold up that long! As Woody Allen said, "Take the money and run!" My father died at 56 and didn't have a chance to retire or draw any of his Social Security benefits. Thank God there were SS college educational benefits at that time that paid for a full time student in college until they were 22 years old. If not for that I would not have been able to get a college education.

P.S. Ronald Reagan took those college education benefits away in the early '80s and now child survivor's benefits end at 18. I think they should be restored for those children who have a parent die before they turn 18...these kids should be given a break!

April 11, 2012 at 3:23 pm

My dad died in the harness. He started as a pauper, became a millionaire, and squandered nearly all of it. I begin official retirement in a few days. I had a plan which was to permit limited labor at 50 but though it did nicely for 7 years, it collapsed as many of the best laid plans of mice and men do. Most troubles come from unrealized desires which retirement, or at least the trappings of it, reduce considerably. I believe getting out as young as possible will allow the younger generations to get on with their adulthood. We baby boomers should pack it in as the youngest of us are well past out primes.

April 10, 2012 at 11:03 pm

My mother retired at the age of 72 two years ago from the mortgage business. She still wants to work.

April 10, 2012 at 10:56 am

I am hoping my spouse wont have to retire at 62. He has been out of work for a year. I went back to school for another career. Church is not longer a place for younger people to gather, thus no full time work for my spouse. Its hard to get hired when you've been unemployed from pastoring people make weird judgements about people that have little truth. They tighten up their budgets just like everyone else.

Andy Thames
April 10, 2012 at 8:44 am

I've already retired twice, and am now into my third career. Financially we could retire, but we're almost out of debt. These next few years represent money in the bank, to fund vacations, toys, etc. I need four additional years to be vested in my third, and final, career. I plan to retire at age 70, four more years, if my health continues to allow me to work that long.

Our living expenses will be funded through Social Security, VA benefits, and various IRA's, 401K's, etc.

I'm frankly getting tired, and looking forward to retirement.

One major concern, and perhaps one on which I over compensate, is my intent to ensure that my wife will have no financial difficulties after I'm gone.

April 08, 2012 at 10:51 pm

I plan to retire at 68. I am now 62.5 and enjoy work. My wife is retired, but now is a day trader at home and loves it. We have a certain plan and are ding our best to hold to it. My Dad retired at 67.5 and regretted it. He was very active and did not have a plan when he retired. At the present we call ourselves (thanks to my sister-n-law)working retired. We do our trips , have plenty of vacation time and plenty of off days, plus get a full salary. It don't get any better.