According to a survey by MetLife, 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. And of those who continue to work, 37 percent say they plan to retire in 2012.
I found these numbers surprising, but among the dozen or so people who commented, many understood perfectly why so many boomers are packing it in early. However you see it, this provides an interesting glimpse at retirement planning.
Here are a few of the things people had to say about their decision:
- tomeyw: I just turned 68. In June, I'll celebrate (the operative word) working 45 years. I love what I do. I run into lots of retirees who all seem bored and trivialized, worrying about when the mail will come. There's no magic formula or age for retiring.
- Sam Boroughs: I planned my early retirement so that we live OK on Social Security. I live in a low-tax rural area (no water or sewer bills). I do not have or want cable or other costly TV (over air has more than we can look at). We only eat out when traveling. No car (not needed, as our daughter helps with all shopping). We're HAPPY with the discretionary money we have available.
- james bosch: I'm 61 and will retire at 62 because I can't stand my boss, and my company won't let me change departments. I'm the last one in the department to escape. Everybody else has gotten out one way or another. I wonder if a bad boss is one of those "other" reasons people retire early. I wish that had been on the questionnaire. Boomers cannot so easily move from a bad situation. Retirement is the last escape hatch.
- PAT PADUCH: We have no idea of what the future holds for most older people. The average saved is around $100,000, and the rest is Social Security, which no one can count on. Their money may last seven to 10 years, and then what will people do? Time will tell. I believe that one should work as long as possible and save as much as possible. If any is left over at the end, then the next generation can use the help.