Leave it to baby boomers to defy conventional wisdom about their own retirement plans. While boomers, especially the youngest of this generation, have real retirement concerns about having to work beyond the traditional retirement age of 65 and having enough money to maintain their lifestyle, a new MetLife study finds that those who have turned 65 this year are retiring.
Fifty-nine percent of boomers who have reached 54 are semi-retired, while 45 percent are completely retired, and 14 percent are retired, but working part time. Twenty-four percent are employed full-time. Of those still working, 37 percent said they would retire within the next year and on average plan to do so by the time they are 68, the study found.
Half of respondents said they retired earlier than they had expected. Four-in-10 of these said they did so for health reasons, but the vast majority (85 percent) consider themselves to be in good health and almost all said they like retirement at least somewhat. Seventy percent said they like it a lot.
A majority of boomers seem to be taking a rebellious attitude toward Social Security benefits. Instead of waiting until a later age to receive a higher payout, almost two-thirds surveyed (63 percent) are already collecting benefits. On average they began to do so at age 63. Sixty percent said they are confident that Social Security will be able to provide adequate benefits for their lifetime. Twenty-three percent of boomers have inherited money (24 percent have a living parent), and of these, 64 percent say it has helped them to achieve their retirement age goal, compared to 44 percent who have not received money from relatives.
As is characteristic of boomers, they will not consider themselves to be “old” until they reach 79.
The MetLife study also found that
· The average retirement age for 1969 boomers is 59.7 for men and 57.2 for women
· 84 percent are parents and 83 percent are grandparents (up from 77 percent in 2008)
· 71 percent are married or in a domestic partnership, while 12 percent are divorced or separated, 10 percent are widowed and 7 percent are single
· Of those not yet retired, 61 percent plan to retire at the same age as they planned a year ago