For Many Boomers Retirement Means Still Working

Many Baby Boomers plan to continue working in retirement, and not just to make ends meet, but to keep physically and mentally energized.

Dell Webb, a builder of active adult communities, said its survey found of those who are still working and have yet to retire, nearly 75% plan to do work in some capacity after they officially retire. Many have noted they plan to do so to “ward off boredom and keep busy” or for the “self satisfaction and enjoyment.”  

Boomers turning 50 this year plan to retire a median of four years later than 50-year-olds in 1996, at age 67 versus 63. Among the younger Boomers, 72% plan to work in some fashion during their retirement years. For older Boomers age 64 but not officially retired, 74% plan to work. However, just under 40% of the current Boomer retirees surveyed said they are actually working now.  

Among the Boomers working, those turning 50 this year are three times as likely to think they will never be financially prepared for retirement—41% today versus 15% in 1996.

Findings from the 2010 Baby Boomer Survey indicated that Boomers feel much younger than their actual ages, and as age increases, the gap between their real age and perceived age expands. Boomers turning 50 this year see the difference as “merely” a decade, while older Boomers feel an average of 13 years younger than their age. Both younger and older Baby Boomers agree that old age starts around 80.  

“Mental attitude,” “happiness,” and “a good sense of humor” were the top mentions among both the younger and older Boomers as reasons they feel younger than their ages. More than 50% of both age groups also said they work out regularly.

Additionally, the survey found nearly a third of the younger Boomers surveyed have pursued additional educational opportunities, much of them focusing on “re-education” and “expanding employment” needs. Approximately 22% of older Boomers surveyed sought additional education, but there was a greater emphasis on “personal interest.”  

Interest and participation in volunteer activities is high across all groups, ranging from 71% among younger Boomers to 60% among the older Boomers. In addition, approximately 40% of both younger and older Boomers have taken up a new hobby or activity in the last few years. Those Boomers who have taken up new hobbies/activities are exploring a broad range of interests including acting, photography, yoga, gardening, and woodworking. 

In late 2009, Del Webb surveyed 504 younger Baby Boomers turning 50 years of age in 2010 and 510 older baby boomers turning 64 in 2010. The full 2010 Del Webb Baby Boomer Survey findings can be found at