Retirement & Financial Planning Report

Older workers looking to prolong their careers and/or improve their remaining working years might consider investing in an “educational upgrade,” according to the Sloan Center on Aging and Work.

It found that today’s older workers on the whole already have more education than their counterparts in the past. For example, between 1971 and 2007, the percentage of adults age 55 to 74 who had a four-year college degree rose from 9 to 27 percent; that figure is projected to grow to 31 percent within 15 tears. Of those in that age group who are still working, just 13 percent had less than a high school education.

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It noted that enrollment as full-time or part-time students in public or private educational institutions falls with age. However, projections show that educational upgrading is occurring among those age 40 and older, with many getting (or finishing, after a break of years) bachelor or masters degrees. About half of college-going adults age 50 or older attend community colleges.

“Older adults with higher educational attainment are less likely to be unemployed and less likely to be employed in physically-demanding jobs or jobs with difficult working conditions. They also are more likely to have access to flexible work arrangements, such as working from home or the ability to control their work schedules,” the report said.

The report said that the higher the level of education, the lower the likelihood that a person will be in a job that is physically demanding or that has difficult working conditions. Similarly, ability to control working schedules increases with education, while unemployment decreases.