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More Older Workers Are Planning to Postpone Retirement

As the pandemic wears on, the latest figures represent a significant jump in sentiment to keep working

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Nearly a third of people in their 50s and 1 out of 5 in their 60s now plan to postpone retirement, the highest numbers to have expressed such intentions since early in the pandemic and a significant jump from November.

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In May, according to a survey by SimplyWise, a retirement planning website, 28 percent of people in their 50s and 18 percent of people in their 60s were planning to postpone retirement. By November, those numbers had dipped to 22 percent and 15 percent, respectively.

But in January, SimplyWise reports, 32 percent of 50-somethings and 21 percent of people in their 60s had decided to put off the end of their working careers.

Only 63 percent of workers in their 50s and 60s are making the same income as they did before the pandemic, while an additional 20 percent are doing the same jobs but receiving less pay.

Fifty-nine percent of Americans in their 50s plan to work in retirement, including 42 percent who see themselves working part time and 17 percent who plan to work full time. The number of full-timers is up significantly from May, when just 8 percent of Americans in their 50s planned to keep working full time in retirement.

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About 11 percent of Americans managed to save $10,000 or more for retirement last year, while an additional 27 percent saved between $1,000 and $9,000. About a third didn't manage to save anything at all.

SimplyWise CEO Sam Abbas said via email that the winter surge in COVID-19, coupled with recent political and economic instability, is dramatically altering workers’ expectations about retirement.

Because of lost income, “many have had to reduce or cut retirement account contributions in order to prioritize their daily budget,” Abbas said. “The financial squeeze they are feeling today makes it hard to think about and plan for the future and the comfortable retirement they had envisioned."

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