Retirement doesn't look the same as it did prior to 1985, when Dad hung up his work boots.
Consider these amazing retirement planning statistics offered by Gary Burtless, who holds the John C. and Nancy D. Whitehead chair in economic studies at the Brookings Institution. Burtless has been studying this issue on behalf of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.
In 1985, men 60 to 74 earned about 20 percent less per year than men between the ages of 25 and 59. Since then, that difference has gone away. The workplace earnings of men ages 60 to 64 have increased 54 percent, while the earnings of 65- to-69-year-olds have increased 164 percent, and the earnings of 70- to 74-year-olds have tripled. Women's numbers aren't quite as dramatic, but they've increased as well.
In terms of hourly wages, in 2010, men between the ages of 60 and 74 were paid 20 percent more than the average worker who was between 25 and 59. Women between ages 60 and 74 earned 10 percent more than their younger counterparts.
Education makes the difference, especially compared to the way it was when your dad retired.
As recently as 1985, nearly half of people between the ages of 70 and 74 lacked a high school diploma and only about 10 percent had a college degree. By 2010, more than 30 percent of men and women between the ages of 60 and 64 held a college diploma -- a slightly higher percentage than among 40- t0 44-year-olds.
The upshot is that the combination of knowledge, age and experience adds up to greater productivity for older people, even compared to workers at the prime of their careers. Burtless predicts that this situation is likely to persist for another 20 years, especially considering the cutbacks in spending on education, allowing older, better educated workers of both sexes to hold onto their jobs and their paychecks -- and turning retirement on its ear.