Oldest Boomers Not Extending Working Years

The first set of Baby Boomers, those born in 1946, are not necessarily "working 'till they drop," as some studies indicate.

More than half (52%) of the 1946 Boomers are now fully retired, according to data from the MetLife Mature Market Institute. Of those, 38% say, “I’m ready,” while 17% cite health reasons and 10% attribute a job loss. Twenty-one percent remain employed full-time, 4% are self-employed, and 14% are working part-time; of those, most plan to retire fully by age 71, up from 69 in 2011.   

Figures from the MetLife Mature Market Institute show that in 2007 and 2008, just 19% of the oldest Boomers were retired, and in 2011, 45% were retired.   

Although the majority of retirees say they have less income than when they were working, only 20% indicate their standard of living has declined. Eighty-six percent are collecting Social Security benefits; 43% began collecting earlier than they had planned.

Long-term care rose to the top of the list of retirement concerns; 31% report concern about providing for themselves or their spouses. Despite the fact they are worried about long-term care, just less than one-quarter owns private long-term care insurance.  

Eighty-two percent of the oldest Boomers want to age in one place and do not plan any future moves. Eight percent are "upside down" on their mortgage, owing more than the value of their home.  

Seventy-nine percent of the oldest Boomers have neither of their parents living, but more than one in 10 are providing regular care for a parent or older relative; for many, the level of care has increased.   

The nationally representative survey for “Healthy, Retiring Rapidly and Collecting Social Security: The MetLife Report on the Oldest Boomers” was conducted by GfK Custom Research North America on behalf of the MetLife Mature Market Institute between November 6 and December 23, 2012. A total of 1,003 respondents, including 447 people from the 2011 study, were surveyed by phone. Respondents were all born in 1946.  

The report can be downloaded from here.