Study: Older Americans Expect to Work Longer; Many Expect to Never Retire

According to a recent study done by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, the recent recession has left older Americans in the workforce expecting to work longer or even to never retire.

As older Americans (aged 50+) in the workforce continue to progress towards retirement, the recent recession has left many of them expecting to work longer or even to never retire according to data from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI).

The EBRI analysis found that just before the recession in 2006, 11.2 percent of workers age 50 or over expected to retire at age 70, but by 2010 (after it had officially ended) that had increased to 14.8 percent. Even at higher ages, the expected retirement age has jumped: Just 1.7 percent of workers age 50 or over planned to retire at age 80 in 2006, while that more than tripled to 5.2 percent in 2010.

Data also showed that expected retirement at earlier ages (62 and 65) steadily declined over the four year period from 2006-2010.

The study also showed that many workers said they never plan to retire. In 2008, 22.4 percent of workers age 50 or older said they had no plans to do so. That number did decline to 16.3 percent by 2010, however.

“The general trend shows that older Americans are expecting to retire later,” said Sudipto Banerjee, EBRI research associate and author of the study. “But the most striking finding is that nearly 20 percent of the sample expects never to stop working and more than 15 percent of the sample don’t know when they are going to retire.”

About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of He has over 20 years of combined experience in media and government services, having worked at two government contracting firms and an online news and web development company prior to his current role at FedSmith.