Working Past the Retirement Age in America

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Late Retirement

In a sluggish economy, it’s no secret that retiring at age 65 is getting tougher and tougher for many senior citizens. But is free enterprise truly a young man’s game?

It doesn’t appear so.

America’s New Entrepreneur Class

Analyzing 2009 data provided by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the most significant demographic of entrepreneurial activity lies within the 55-64 age group. This means that members of the baby boomer generation are more likely to create new companies/employment opportunities than their younger counterparts. Reports show this has trended steadily year-over-year for eleven years (1996 to 2007) straight.

One reason for this influx of senior independence is that American job tenure is no longer a long-term endeavor. Employee Benefit News reports that the number has rebounded slightly over the last two years (seeing an increase to 5.4 years on average in 2012, from 5.2 years in 2010, for example) but, overall, it has fallen drastically over several decades. Among the hardest hit were males aged 55 to 64, whose average job tenure has shrunken to 10.7 years in 2012 from 14.7 years in 1963.

Baby Boomers Sticking Around

…baby boomers, age 46-64, had not saved enough for their retirement…

As baby boomers head into the retirement age, it seems that fewer of them are ready to exit the job market. eHealthInsurance conducted an anonymous online survey of its clients and found that baby boomers, age 46-64, had not saved enough for their retirement. In this example, 69% of them plan to work after they turned 65. Some want to keep busy (31%) while slightly more feel they have no choice but to remain employed in order to make ends meet (38%). For information on employment, entrepreneurship, and Medicare, check out our guide to Medicare while working, or compare Medicare plans at

Other than the change in employment, there is also increased life expectancy to consider. Seniors are living longer, and potentially healthier, lives and so their prolonged presence in the job market isn’t all that surprising. It is because of this that the idea of self-employment is more attractive to them. Seniors may wish to remain employed without the “grind” of a typical 9-to-5 job and so the freedom of self-employment becomes a worthwhile lifestyle pursuit.

What Does 65 Mean in 2013?

Today, the retirement age does not necessarily signify a career sunset. The necessity of longer-life employment instead has resulted in a free market paradigm shift, showcasing tremendous amounts of seniors who have suddenly figured out what they want to be now that they are grown up. There’s no substitute for knowledge and experience and that’s why so many seniors are perhaps taking matters into their own hands, finding independent success and entrepreneurial spirit in their golden years.

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