Older Workers Want to Work

More than three-quarters of middle-income Americans (76%) between the ages of 50 and 69 say they are sticking with their jobs because they want to.

 In addition, one in four workers in this age group (27%) says this is the happiest time of their working career, and another one in ten (11%) believes the best is yet to come, according to the Older Workers and Money Survey released by Charles Schwab & Co.   

Older workers generally start their workdays in a positive frame of mind, feeling engaged, respected, valued and happy. Women are even more likely than men to stay with their jobs because they like what they do (63% vs. 56%).   

The majority of workers age 50 to 69 say they like what they do (59%) and the people they work with (49%). More than two-thirds (67%) consider themselves ahead of the game when it comes to job skills and report being “intellectually stimulated,” “still learning” and “working to [their] full potential” at their jobs.   

However, there are some differences between people in their 50s and those in their 60s when it comes to contentment in the workplace. More people in their 60s than in their 50s say they don’t plan to stop working (34% vs. 25%, respectively). Nearly twice as many workers in their 60s as 50s say they just don’t want to retire (32% vs. 19%).   

People in their 60s are more likely to work part-time and enjoy the flexibility of doing so, like the people they work with, feel they would be bored if they were not working, and not feel ready to retire or simply not want to, the study shows.   

Conversely, people in their 50s more often feel stuck in their jobs than do people in their 60s, perceiving greater barriers to changing jobs. They say they are sticking with their current employer because they need the money (64% vs. 55%), because they feel it would be tough to switch jobs in this economy (52% vs. 29%) or because they do not want to start over and lose seniority (29% vs. 17%).



Tapping Into Older Workers’ Experience  

Older workers tend to serve as mentors to their younger colleagues, with more than two-thirds (68%) providing advice on a range of topics, including how their younger colleagues can do their jobs better, how to handle professional issues and how to navigate around the organization. Some even provide advice on how to make the most of workplace benefits (26%). Because their single greatest piece of financial advice to a 30-year-old is to "live within a budget," followed by "maximize your 401(k), IRA or retirement account," there may be an opportunity for employers to tap into the wisdom of this group of workers to help promote financial fitness in the workplace.   

A majority of older workers express confidence that they will have enough income to be comfortable in retirement (62%), even though their personal finances may not support that. Nearly half (47%) have less than $100,000 in investable assets. More workers in their 50s than 60s say they will rely a lot on 401(k) income during retirement.   

Older workers are interested in and receptive to learning about how to improve their financial lives. The top three choices of topic that might make the biggest impact on their lives, if given the choice of a personal finance workshop, were “investing [their] money for growth and income," "planning for income in retirement" and "living within a reasonable budget."  

To see the full survey results, visit schwabmoneywise.com/2012survey.