by: Dick Stroud 

Isn’t it great when you come upon a ‘research’ paper that contains some decent research and is written in an accessible style. If you have every stayed awake wondering why Boomers plan to work so long then this is the document for you.

It has been produced by The Retirement Project, a collection of people with backgrounds in Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other parts of the US social policy world. The study compares the retirement expectations of workers ages 51 to 56 in 2004 and 1992.

It is a long (35 page) document.

The bottom line why older people seek to earn a crust (and spend a bean) for longer comes down to basic demographic and economic facts. Worshipers of generational cohort theory will be disappointed – it has nothing to do with Woodstock or sex drugs and rock and roll.

Here are the main reasons for extending the period of work and spending:

1. Rising education attainment (37% of early boomers graduated from college, compared with only 22% of the pre-war generation).

2. Loss of decent pensions (between 1992 and 2004, the share of workers ages 51 to 56 with defined benefit pension coverage on the current job fell from 40 to 31 percent)

3. Lower rates of retiree health insurance provision.

These three reasons account for most of the motivations (necessity) to keep working. The only issue that I would have expected in this list is the desire/need to help fund their children and grandchildren.

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