Boomers Overly Optimistic About Work in Retirement

A majority of middle-income Boomers say there are inadequate job opportunities for retirees.

Sixty percent of Baby Boomers plan to work during their retirement years, but they are overly optimistic about how much they will be paid, the opportunities that will be available and the flexibility that they will be afforded, according to a survey by Bankers Life Center for a Secure Retirement.

More than a quarter (26%) of non-retirees would not accept a pay cut, while only 21% would accept a significant pay cut, the survey found. The reality is that 53% of currently employed retirees say they are working for much less than they were before they retired.

An overwhelming majority of nonretirees (94%) hope that they will be offered flexible schedules in retirement, such as flex-time (56%), telecommuting (20%), a shortened work week (17%) or job sharing (14%). The reality is just over one-third (37%) of current retirees say they have such accommodating work arrangements.

Among the retirees who have landed a job, 80% said it was easy to find. However, 61% of middle-income Boomers believe there aren’t adequate job opportunities for retired workers.

Retirees who have landed a job have shown that they are resourceful in terms of getting additional training or education, with 39% of employed retirees saying they have completed work-related classes, education or training since retiring. They are nearly evenly split between having pursued this training on their own (18%) or receiving it from their employer (17%). A mere 4% sought out the training both on their own and with the help of their employer.

The good news is that those retirees who have succeeded in finding work thoroughly enjoy their work, with the majority of the retired workers saying their work is more enjoyable than before they retired. They also enjoy the added income, the job opportunities available to them and socializing with new people. They also noted that working helps them keep mentally and physically fit.

Bankers Life Center for a Secure Retirement’s survey verifies a similar study by the AARP Public Policy Institute that found 26% of people between the ages of 55 and 70 who sought new jobs after a period of unemployment said that employers appeared to believe they were too old and that this is an impediment to people in their age group finding work. Nearly half (48%) said they were earning less than before they retired.

The Blackstone Group conducted the survey of 3,298 middle-income Boomers between the ages of 51 and 69 on behalf of Bankers Life Center for a Secure Retirement. All respondents have annual household income between $25,000 and $100,000.