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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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Jack Frost
April 19, 2012 at 12:05 pm

Retire? SS and job retirement programs will give me about $48,000 a year. IRA and other investments have a market value of about $450,000, not touching that. I'm 65, healthy, happy, and working! As long as it's good why quit? I get paid health care and other benefits including annual leave of 4 weeks a year. The wife is retired. She brings in about $45,000 a year and has yet to put in for SS. And she has portfolio of $950,000 but, it's not growing. Best plan seems to be work a little longer so we don't have to touch investment principal for at least 10 years or longer. Quiting sounds good but living well and having money for health care later is very, very important. Playing it by ear and seeing how it goes. Work looks good!

April 19, 2012 at 11:55 am

I'll be 65 in September, still working! Still healthy! I get 4 weeks vacation a year, health care, 11 paid holidays, 4 personal days and 2 weeks sick leave added as well. In addition, SS is growing as is, deferred comp, IRAs, and regular retirement plus lump sum at retirement. So, why retire right now? If I can work until 66, 67 or even 68 every one of my retirement accounts grows and grows. I'm not ready for a rocking chair on the front porch! Two good vacations a year and no stress make working right now a good choice. If anything changes I can walk. Of course those grandkids sure look like fun! Maybe it's time!

Wes Miller
April 19, 2012 at 9:21 am

You can always find ways to make a little extra money if you really need it but you can't buy time! Retired @ 55 now 65 and NO regrets!

April 19, 2012 at 8:17 am

I retired at 57. I had saved and did not need to work. Work was a misnomer - I was highly paid and did no work like most of the highly paid people I know in government and industry paid by government. Its like there are 2 economies - 1 for normal people, 1 for government and government subsidised. The one economy works and produces the other economy makes paper and slows down the real work. I love being retired - now I have productive work to do that helps real people.

April 19, 2012 at 8:12 am


April 19, 2012 at 4:22 am

I live in a very low pay area of the country, so I have always been careful how much I spend, I buy what I need not what I want.
Forced to retire, company being looted by a financial firm.
Owners sucking 2 million dollars a year from company and not putting anything back.

April 19, 2012 at 1:47 am

I received a PHD in ecnomics over 40 years ago without sitting in a classroom one day. I retired at 62 and have no regrets.

"If your income is less than your outgo, your upkeep will be your downfall."

April 18, 2012 at 11:35 pm

OK, Since when does that chart make any sense?. Earlier=Other=39% and Later=Other=45%...So what's all the 'others'?...this is a huge information gap. In other words, a useless chart.

April 18, 2012 at 7:16 pm

This article does not account for the people being forced out by age discrimination. More people are forced into creating their companies because corporation simply will not hire someone over 40 and don't want to pay the benefits. They also don't want to hire people because once certain headcounts are reached, the laws start to have more of a punch.
Not everyone who has spent the majority of their lives working as an employee to someone is equipped to suddenly become an "entrepreneur". Instead they just give up and retire.

Jeff Lawrence
April 18, 2012 at 6:54 pm

I retired completely at age 50. House paid off, no bills except the regular stuff
I don't regret it one bit, and I wouldn't go back for any amount of money.
I get up when I want too, I go where I want too, and do what I want to do
not what anyone else wants me to do, unless it's my wife, then I'll do it. I miss the interaction between fellow employees, but then I talk to one of them and decide that no, I really don't. No more listening to the whining and complaining about work, it's awesome. I get a military disability check every month, my wife still works, and we get by just fine. I haven't even had to give up anything, which is awesome!