Retirement Called More a Transition than an Event

Retirement is increasingly becoming a period of transition rather than an event, according to a study that said, for example, that a tenth of retirees actually are continuing to work and that they don’t expect to stop working altogether and fully retire until a median age of 70.

The report by the TransAmerica Center for Retirement Studies also showed desires to retire at older ages, with two-thirds of workers age 50 and above planning to work past age 65 or not planning to retire at all. For them, the median expected retirement age–the point at which half are above and half are below–is 67.

Slightly above half of that group say they plan to continue working at least on a part-time basis after they retire.

“Prior to retiring, retirees (43 percent) were far more likely than age 50+ workers (24 percent) to have envisioned retirement as a point in time at which they would immediately stop working and begin pursuing their retirement dreams. Age 50+ workers (62 percent) are far more likely than retirees were when they were working (38 percent) to envision retirement as a transition that involves shifting from full-time to part-time, working in a different capacity, or working as long as possible until they can’t work anymore,” it said.

Among common reasons for the desire to keep working longer are concerns about whether Social Security will be able to pay the full benefits promised and inadequate savings, with particular concern about ability to pay for long-term care needs.