20% of Workers Expect to Retire Later Than Planned

Twenty percent of U.S. workers say their expected retirement age has increased over the past year. An annual Employee Benefit Research Institute survey found the 20% increase in 2011 was statistically similar to 24% who said they were planning to postpone retirement in 2010.


The study, EBRI’s 2011 Retirement Confidence Survey, found several frequently cited reasons for the change. First, the poor economy was most often attributed (36%), followed by a lack of faith in Social Security/government (16%). Other reasons for postponing retirement included changes in employment situation (15%) and “can’t afford to retire” (13%).


Other reasons addressed in the survey were that cost of living in retirement will be higher than expected (10%); ensuring respondents have enough money to retire comfortably (10%); the need to pay current expenses first (9%); health care costs (7%); the need to make up for losses in the stock market (6%); law changed minimum retirement age (5%); and poor health or disability (1%).

The age at which workers expect to retire is gradually rising, according to the survey. In 1991, half of workers planned to retire before age 65 (50%), compared with 23% in 2011.

See the full survey results.

Written by Elizabeth Ecker

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  • In the interest of full disclosure, the Employee Benefits Research Institute is the research arm of the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans. The IFEBP, or “The International Foundation” as it is fondly referred to in the benefits industry, is a non-profit organization whose principal members are multiemployer plans. These are all collective bargaining plans of several employers, such as carpenters, plumbers, etc. It is also informally known as large union plans. Attendees at its conferences number in the tens of thousand.

    Even though the information they gather is generally unbiased, behind data gathered is an agenda other than employees at large. Like all surveys how questions are phrased, what form they are presented in, and how many choices respondents are provided all play into the information which is presented as findings.

    While I am a big fan of the EBRI and its research, sometimes their agenda is clear but there are times when it is not.

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