Most Middle-Aged Adults Are Rethinking Retirement Plans

In the midst of a recession that has taken a heavy toll on many nest eggs, just over half of all working adults ages 50 to 64 say they may delay their retirement—and another 16% say they never expect to stop working, according to a national survey by the Pew Research Center's Social & Demographic Trends Project.

Overall, 37% of full-time employed adults of all ages say they have thought in the past year about postponing their eventual retirement. This proportion swells to 52% among fulltime workers ages 50 to 64. Members of this so-called "Threshold Generation" are twice as likely as younger workers to say they never plan to retire (16% vs. 8%).

Moreover, the Thresholders who do plan to retire someday say they plan to keep working, on average, until they are age 66—when they would be four years older than the age at which current retirees age 65 or older report that they stopped working.

The Pew Research survey also finds that it may not be how much you earn but how much you lost in the investment market meltdown that determines whether you are re-thinking your retirement plans. Among the Threshold Generation as well as among other age groups, higher-income earners are only slightly less likely than lower-income adults to have considered postponing retirement. But regardless of income or age, those who have lost 40% or more of their investment nest eggs are roughly twice as likely as those who haven't lost money in the market meltdown to say they have thought about delaying their eventual exit from the workforce.

Read the full report Most Middle-Aged Adults Are Rethinking Retirement Plans on the Pew Research Center's Web site.

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