With the shift toward an aging workforce, employers can benefit from the knowledge and emotional maturity older workers bring, said Laura L. Carstensen, founding director of the Stanford Center on Longevity, in a keynote address Tuesday at Pensions & Investments' West Coast Defined Contribution Conference in San Diego.
Ms. Carstensen — who is also a professor of psychology and the Fairleigh S. Dickinson Jr. professor in public policy at Stanford University — said increased life spans and low savings will keep many people in the workplace longer and noted that 14% of middle-income baby boomers do not have a retirement account.
Additionally, some people will work longer because they are “functionally healthy,” she said. While many people think of aging as “synonymous with decline,” good health and functional independence are expected to last “well into their 70s and 80s for many people,” Ms. Carstensen said.
Thirty-five percent of men and 28% of women age 65 to 75 are projected to be working in 2020, according to Ms. Carstensen, adding that more work still needs to be done to help people prepare for their “very long and distant futures.”
“Times have changed,” she said. People are not retiring in the same way as their parents and need to recognize that, she said.