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Boomers calling it quits by 65

By Jennie L. Phipps · Bankrate.com
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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285 Comments
Cliff D
April 18, 2012 at 5:27 pm

I'm feeling blessed because staying in the armed forces for 20 years was one of the smartest things I ever did. It's given me a lot of flexibility. I retired from the military at age 38, then worked full time for 10 years in the architectural, engineering, and surveying biz. Thus I was able to "semi-retire" at age 49 and set myself up working from home as a free-lance engineering consultant. My wife and I were able to both take our social security at age 62 mortgage and debt free. All we have are monthly utility bills. I'm not recounting this to brag, but to encourage other current military members to CONSIDER A MILITARY CAREER. I've never met a retired military member who was sorry that they stayed.

Lynn
April 18, 2012 at 3:18 pm

Come on baby boomers - RETIRE! We need more jobs and you're hogging them all with your bloated salaries and entitlement packages. You earned them - now go enjoy them and let the younger folks get a chance to earn a decent income!

Joe from hell
April 18, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Im 54 and semi retired ..meaning that I do not have a job...I have no pension and no 401k ..I do have a smell rental investment that I (get by on ) do I regret leaving my job??? NO WAY....Do I regret not having money for toys ..some what ..but when I wake up in the morning and know that I really only have to do what I want to do that day ...PRICELESS!!!!

Mike
April 18, 2012 at 1:18 pm

I'm 55, and semi retired courtesy of Obama and his defense cuts. I would of liked to have worked a couple of more years, but no such luck. At times I miss the people (I definitely miss the pay) and wish I was still working, but one thing I definitely don't miss at all is all the garbage you have to put up with at work. I'm doing ok though, my wife is younger than me, and still works, I started my pension and I'm enjoying life.

jjdoublej
April 18, 2012 at 1:12 pm

i would retire today at 48 if i could. Life is short...no guarantees how long we will live, and even if you live long, what kind of mobility and health will you have. Plus, I hate having to get up early everyday and be somewhere.

jean kerr
April 18, 2012 at 1:08 pm

I am 67 still working and would love to retire and enjoy life. If you can't afford to travel, pay your medical expenses and enjoy life retiring is not an option. Our nest egg is not as big as it looked 30 years ago.

Mike S
April 18, 2012 at 12:32 pm

I am 62 and plan towork a few more years until at least 66. My job isn't all that stressfull most of the time and the money is good. I also need the health insurance for myself and the wife who is 2 years younger than I. So I might even be tempted to stay on til 68 when she will be eligible for Medicare. My 401K is well funded now and should be in real good shape by then. I am in good health, exercise 6 times a week with no physical ailments to speak of. My dad and mom are both alive and well at 90 yrs so maybe I will stick around awhile to. Never can be sure but at least if I go I will have left something for my wife which is my main concern.

Mike
April 18, 2012 at 12:21 am

It is a darned good thing I decided to take retirement at 62. Two years were good, then arthritis set in. Can't stand to chase with grandkids any more so I'm grateful for those few when I could. If you retire at 62, when you turn 70 you might consider you would have a bit more money if you had waited to retire. But think of the years lost. And, there is no guarantee you will live that long.

birge miller
April 17, 2012 at 3:47 pm

we're retired and loving it! it means "freedom"--to do what we want, even part-time work, or stay home in safety on rainey days. delaying s.s. still takes 8 + yrs to recover, a really bad idea. one high schl mate died last spring at 61 yrs, 8 mos; never collected a dime in s.s. or enjoyed travel & grndkds. that's reality....along with govt waste of s.s. fund.

Ilene Little
April 15, 2012 at 1:11 pm

I like to see indications that Baby Boomers are starting to wake up and realize that their health is the #1 indicator of quality of life and outgrowing the dependency of working for the man. And health doesn't just mean access to affordable care (which you can't get now in the U.S. because it's tied to overall cost of living in the States), but to emotional health; not settling for less of a lifestyle. Guess you have to be an adventurer to relate to what I'm saying. Just get out of my way, look out World, here I come!