The trend of increasing retirement age expectations may be slowing, however. Between 2009 and 2012, between 20 and 25 percent of workers reported that the age at which they expected to retire increased in the past year.
Since that time however, fewer workers have reported postponing the age at which they expect to retire. Only 13 percent of workers report increasing the age at which they expect to retire in the past year, compared with 22 percent in the 2013.
The 2014 RCS found that workers planning to delay retirement gave the following reasons:
The poor economy (25 percent).
Inadequate finances or can’t afford to retire (18 percent).
A change in employment situation (17 percent).
Needing to pay for health care costs (12 percent).
Lack of faith in Social Security or government (9 percent).
Higher-than-expected cost of living (9 percent).
Wanting to make sure they have enough money to retire comfortably (8 percent).
The RCS has consistently found that a large percentage of retirees leave the workforce earlier than planned (50 percent in 2015). Many who retired earlier than planned did so because of a hardship, such as a health problem or disability (60 percent), though some state that they retired early because they could afford to do so (31 percent).
This tendency to retire earlier than planned may explain the considerable gap that exists between workers’ expectations and retirees’ experience. Just 8 percent of workers say they plan to retire before age 60, compared with 36 percent of retirees who report they retired that early. On the other hand, 26 percent of workers plan to wait at least until age 70 to retire, compared with 6 percent of retirees who actually did so. As one might expect, workers who are not confident about their financial security in retirement plan to retire later, on average, than those who express confidence.
Working for Pay in Retirement Two-thirds (67 percent) of workers plan to work for pay in retirement, compared with just 23 percent of retirees who report they have actually worked for pay in retirement. In fact, the RCS has consistently found that workers are far more likely to plan to work for pay in retirement than retirees are to have actually worked.
Sources of Retirement Income While the majority of retirees (90 percent) report that Social Security provides a source of income for their and their spouse’s retirement (63 percent say it is a major source of income), workers and their spouses continue to expect to draw their retirement income from a wide variety of sources. (Social Security is the federal program that provides income replacement for the aged and disability coverage for eligible workers and their dependents). Eighty percent of current workers expect Social Security to be a major or minor source of income in retirement, but they believe that personal savings will also play a large role. At least two-thirds each say they anticipate receiving retirement income from an employer-sponsored retirement savings plan (74 percent), an individual retirement account or IRA (69 percent), and other personal savings and investments (66 percent). Seventy-three percent expect employment to provide them with a source of income in retirement and 55 percent expect to receive income from an employer-sponsored traditional pension or cash balance plan. In contrast to workers, retirees are less likely to expect to rely on any form of personal savings or on employment for their income in retirement