Tuesday, April 01, 2008

U.S. Economic Troubles Leading to Delays in Retirement

Writing for the Wall Street Journal, Jennifer Levitz reports that "many aging Americans are delaying retirement, electing labor over leisure in uncertain times" as the falling real-estate and stock markets erode their savings. Among other things, she notes how as houses decline in value, fewer people feel confident enough to retire, even if they plan to continue living in them, and as the stock market declines, older workers don't have years to make that up. As a result, they worry that their investments will diminish to the point that they won't have enough money to get through retirement.In addition to anecdotal evidence, she writes:
In February, the proportion of people ages 55 to 64 in the work force rose to 64.8%, up 1.5 percentage points from last April. That translates to more than an additional million people in the job pool, according to the U.S. Labor Department. The ranks of those 65 and over in the work force rose to 16.2% from 16% in the same time span -- meaning 212,000 more hands on deck. So far, the numbers for March continue to show a "sharp" increase, says Steve Hipple, a department economist.
Levitz also reports that investment advisers and retirement planners at more than a dozen firms "say they are seeing large numbers of older workers put off retirement as the housing and stock-market troubles have deepened."

Source: Wall St. Journal "Americans Delay Retirement As Housing, Stocks Swoon" (April 1, 2008); also reprinted in Atlanta Journal Constitution (April 1, 2008)

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