More than half of the oldest boomers currently retired did so earlier than planned
The most senior baby boomers are “myth-busters” when it comes to retirement, a new report finds.
More than half (52 percent) of the eldest boomers over the age of 65 are retired now, five years prior to the average planned retirement age of 71 (up from 69 in 2011), according to the MetLife Mature Market Institute study. This represents a significant jump since 2007 and 2008 when just 19 percent of the oldest boomers were retired and 2011 when 45 percent had entered retirement.
Fewer than one in 10 of the eldest boomers surveyed who are currently working indicated they thing they will need to retire later than they have planned, while 13 percent are optimistic they can retire early.
Boomers have no illusions about having an improved standard of living in retirement. Only six percent anticipate this, but more than twice the percentage of the oldest boomers who are currently retired (18 percent) report improvement, citing lower expenses and Social Security as driving factors, the report found. One third of the oldest boomers who are still working expect a decreased standard of living in retirement, but only 20 percent of those who are currently retired report a decline.
Eighty-six percent of the oldest boomers are currently collecting Social Security. Of these, 43 percent started collecting benefits earlier than anticipated. Two-thirds feel very or somewhat confident that Social Security will be solvent enough to provide adequate benefits for their lifetime. This is up slightly from 63 percent in 2011.
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Just over half of the oldest boomers report reaching or are on track to reach their retirement savings goals, an increase from 38 percent in 2008. However, just over one-third (34 percent) estimate they are somewhat or significantly behind in their savings.
Nine-out-of-ten of oldest boomers surveyed are homeowners, with 82 percent reporting they plan to stay in their own homes and do not plan to move. This is up from 75 percent six years ago.
Boomers pride themselves on being proactive about their health, with 82 percent self-rating it to be very good or excellent. They will see themselves as “old” when they reach 78.5 years.
Generally, four-in-ten of the oldest boomers are optimistic about the future, while 23 percent are pessimistic, citing such issues as government dysfunction (49 percent) or society and the economy (17 percent).
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.