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Retirement? Maybe later

Many older workers plan to work into their 70s, 80s

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NEW YORK — Many older workers are planning to work well past traditional retirement age, into their 70s and 80s, according to a new survey by the AARP.

In the survey of older working adults, to be released today, about 45 percent indicated plans to work well beyond 65 years old. That included about 27 percent who said they planned to continue working into their 70s. Another 18 percent said they would work into their 80s, as long as they're able or would never stop working.

The AARP, an advocacy group for older Americans that is based in Washington, D.C., said past surveys have indicated that people are planning to put off retirement. The ranks of such workers have swelled in the past few years as people lost retirement savings in the stock market, health care costs skyrocketed and employers cut health care benefits.

Past surveys have generally found that of people planning to prolong work, most expected to stay on the job into their late 60s, AARP researchers said. But the number of people planning to work into their 70s and 80s is surprising, said Jeff Love, an AARP research director.

Older Americans are continuing to work for many reasons, including a desire to stay active and engaged, the survey found.

But when pressed to name one major factor in their decision, 22 percent cited the need for money. The second most-cited reason was a need for health benefits, motivating 17 percent of workers, the survey found.

"People are expecting to work longer in order to secure the benefits so that one day they can retire," Love said.

The findings are based on a telephone survey of 2,001 working adults between the ages of 50 and 70 that was done between April 9 and June 5 of this year. There is a margin of error of 2.5 percentage points.