Fed Week’s article, “Many Factors Affect Choice of Retiring or Continuing to Work,” says that the Congressional Budget Office found that after declining for decades, the share of those ages 55 to 79 who were employed began to go up in the mid-1990s. In 1995, 33% of those in that age range worked, but by 2018, 44% did. The Congressional Budget Office pinpointed some factors that are motivating people to work longer. Let’s look at some of these:
- Those with a college degree are more apt to be employed at any age than those without one. The percentage of individuals with degrees has been increasing over time, especially among women.
- From the mid-1990s to 2018, the health of people ages 55 to 79 improved significantly. This shows the gains in self-reported measures and longevity. Improvements in health impact employment, both because healthier people are physically able to work longer and because increased life expectancy may motivate people to spend more years working, in order to pay for their retirement.
- Job Characteristics. Over time, fewer people worked in blue-collar jobs. Due to the fact that blue-collar jobs typically have greater physical demands than other jobs—and workers in those jobs tend to retire earlier—that decrease impacts some of the rise in employment of people 55 to 79.
- Increased Employment of Women. Research has shown that the increased employment and delayed retirement of married women over the period, might have contributed to the increased employment of married men because many couples retire at the same time.
- Employer Policies. The move from defined benefit to defined contribution retirement plans lowers the incentive to retire at a particular age. The added burden for workers to save on their own also creates more motivation to work longer. Private sector companies have also cut back on health insurance coverage for their retirees. Only 37% of workers now have employer-based health insurance that covers retirees between 55 and 64, compared with 69% in 1992. As a result, workers have an incentive to work at least until 65, when they become eligible for Medicare.
Reference: Fed Week (November 7, 2019) “Many Factors Affect Choice of Retiring or Continuing to Work”