Retirement & Financial Planning Report

While the trend toward desiring to push off retirement continues, a study has found that nearly half of workers leave the workforce earlier than they had planned–in more than half of those cases because of reasons beyond their control.

The Employee Benefit Research Institute examined retirement trends as part of its annual retirement confidence study and found that as of 2016, 37 percent of workers expected to retire after age 65–compared with just 11 percent in 1991–and 6 percent don’t expect to retire at all. Of the fifth whose expected retirement age had changed within the last year, 77 percent said the date had been pushed back. Commonly cited reasons include the state of the economy, inadequate personal savings, concern about health care costs, and higher than expected living costs.


However, the survey continues to find that around half–46 percent in 2016–who actually retired did so earlier than they had planned. In 55 percent of those cases, the reason was a hardship such as a health problem or a disability. Twenty-five percent said they wanted to do something else while the rest said they found they could afford to retire earlier than expected.

One result, it said, is that while just 8 percent of workers expect to retire before age 60, 35 percent of retirees actually did so; similarly, while 26 percent of workers expect to keep working until at least age 70, just 8 percent of retirees had done so.