Most Working Americans Expect to Continue Work Beyond Retirement Age

According to recent Gallup polling, 8 in 10 employed Americans expect to continue working full or part time after reaching retirement age, with more of them claiming they will continue work because they "want to" (44%) rather than they "have to" (36%). The expectation among a large majority (63%) of workers is that they will work part time beyond their retirement age, as opposed to full time (18%) or stopping work altogether (18%).

Workers' expectations for their level of employment after retirement age appear to be connected to how optimistically they view their financial futures. Writes Gallup: "Those who expect to work full time are twice as likely to say they will do so out of need rather than as a choice." But those who say they will stop working "overwhelmingly say it is because they want to," and workers who expect to work part time are more likely to say it is because they want to work, rather than have to.
And although upper-income workers--those with an annual household income of $75,000 or larger--are "somewhat" less likely than middle- and lower-income workers to expect continued work after retirement age, a large majority of all income groups holds that expectation. Only 23% of upper-income workers and 13% of middle- and lower-income workers expect to stop working after retirement age.

Gallup suggests that the poll results reflect larger changes in the economy and how older Americans approach the concept of retirement, writing: "The current expectation among today's workers that they will continue working once they reach retirement age underscores the changing nature of the retirement landscape in the United States, partly because of changes in the economics of retirement and partly because of individuals' desired level of activity in retirement."

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