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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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mike mathes
May 23, 2012 at 7:57 pm

i left at 55 from hamilton county dd the just over loaded with work told lies on when i got to beat up they just made it worse yoiunger people would watch me struggle and laugh wen they got there 600 dooler bounus they ripped mine off the boss doona was a lie deceitful fat bastared im glad im gone ihated that job if you werent in donnas familey9she hired her own husband for shrist sake)yoiu were done

May 23, 2012 at 6:32 pm

The Value of Age and Wisdom in Business Management

God blessed my business efforts and the fact my business was dedicated to Christ. As a result, I was able to sell my business at age 62 and have since retired. However, in the Obama economy retirement has been anything but easy and Obama’s reckless fiscal policy should be a cause for concern for every baby boomer.

That said, any business owner that is truly wise will recognize and seek to benefit from the nuggets of wisdom offered by today’s more mature workforce. As you may be aware, several years ago a Harvard report published by the Brookings Institute addressed the matter of financial and business management as it relates to the application of reason. In a nutshell, this research cautioned against seeking or following the advice of the under 30 crowd in these all important matters. The point made in that publication was that what scientists refer to as “fluid intelligence” or the ability to analyze, process and retain new information actually peaks around age 20. However, the most important component found to be requisite in making prudent financial and business decisions was actually “crystallized intelligence” which tends to increase with age! Interestingly, the study found these two divergent trajectories intersected at 53.3 years of age with the optimum cognitive function sweet spot identified as being between age 43 and 63. So, unless you believe Harvard researchers were dead wrong, you would be a fool not to acknowledge that more mature workers in America have a great deal to offer!

May 23, 2012 at 6:29 pm

Not me, I'll be working till I'm 70. Born in 55, right in the center of the 'boom', I'm in the IT field and there's plenty of jobs for those who know how computers work. Pays good, work's easy, why quit ?

May 23, 2012 at 5:39 pm

Throughout our nation’s history—both before and after the American Revolution—our nation’s pastors freely spoke out on the political and moral issues of the day. It was their duty and their right under the Constitution to preach against immorality and corruption in the political and the moral realm. However, back in 1954, LBJ (another liberal Democrat like Obama) was facing re-election to the Senate and was being aggressively opposed by two non-profit anti-Communist groups that were “attacking Johnson’s liberal agenda”. In retaliation, Johnson inserted language into the IRS code that prohibited non-profits, including churches, from endorsing or opposing candidates for political office. In effect, this thoroughly corrupt man used the power of the IRS to silence his opposition. Unfortunately, it worked.

So, a country that has been relentlessly in the courts driving God out of public life since 1963 shouldn’t be surprised by the problems now facing this nation. As we grind through the upcoming election process, it seems like the debate over morality in America has less to do with moral outcomes and more to do with a vision of how society should look based on idealistic remembrances of how things were. Until boomers take a firm stand against liberalism inherent in the Democratic party things are only likely to get worse. Certainly, the Republican party is not the party of sainthood, but as baby boomers it is high time we stand up and support their ideals rather than that of the liberal left, if you are looking for improvement in our country!

May 23, 2012 at 2:21 pm

I think what we are seeing in the workforce is what happens when companies look at their older employees as liabilities rather that assets! Sad!

Richard Tool
May 23, 2012 at 10:30 am

Boomers are retiring becaust in the Obama Depression there are very few job opportunities for aging Boomers.

Eliot Salinas
May 23, 2012 at 12:44 am

Wow Lee Smith! nailed it. Every job I've had over the past ten years has been murder. I now receive a project with a due date and everybody disapears until it's due. Which means all of your support in the past is gone, so you're there nights and weekends trying to meet the deadline. When and if you do meet this deadline, there is no bonus or attaboy, just another impossible project with an impossible deadline. I've watched the managers and owners go home half day friday and enjoy their pools and their families while I destroy my body with cafeteria food and stress. I've quit three jobs in a row for health reason and the sad truth is they've actually told me that if I have health reasons and I can't do the work then I don't belong there. Karma is a funny thing.....and a very real thing. I pray for them.

May 22, 2012 at 3:11 pm

There sure are a lot of whiny people on this blog. Quit blaming the current president for your own bad decisions. You'd think the Bush years and their gigantic deficits never happened.

May 22, 2012 at 1:47 pm

A big difference is the loss of loyalty between companies and workers. When we started our careers the expectation was you would work hard and the company would take care of you. In the last 20 years it's become very clear that workers are nothing more than an expense item to an impersonal corporation, to be discarded at the slightest whiff of a cost savings. Stress levels have shot sky high in the corporate workplace and the boomers can't wait to get out.

Lee Smith
May 22, 2012 at 12:55 pm

I am planning on retiring early (age 55). Frankly, I feel totally beat down after more than a decade of being forced to do more with less. My job responsibilities and workload have increased year after year without a corresponding increase in pay, and benefits have slowly eroded away. I've always been a hard worker and could put up with the increased workload if I felt my contributions were appreciated. Instead, I feel less valued and more like I'm just another cog in the wheel. It's gotten worse with the bad economy because companies know your options are limited. It's amazing how quickly companies switch gears from being all about "employee retention" when the economy is doing well to having a "if you don't like it, there's the door" attitude when the economy is bad. As if employees are just going to forget!