Recent data from the Employee Benefit Research Institute show that a greater percentage of older workers are staying in the labor force. While a function of baby boomers approaching retirement, and it can be expected to decline over the long term, the participation rate has been stable near 40% of the population over 55 years old since 2008. The slow growth of retirement assets post-crisis might be keeping many boomers in the workforce.
Hanging on: Americans began staying longer in the workforce in the late 1990s, peaking just before the financial crisis. The trend is expected to continue in the short term but decline as boomers retire.
Low balances: Recent survey* data reveal that about half of retirees said they wished they had saved more.
Debts to pay: The debt load assumed by older Americans subsided following the financial crisis. However, the average debt held by people who are not self-employed grew 6% from 2006 to 2016, to about $116,000.
Paying for health: Health-care expenses have made up at least 20% of all personal expenditures since 2009. About one-third of survey* respondents said they stay in the workforce due to health-care concerns.
*AllianceBernstein, “Inside the Minds of Plan Participants,” May 2018. **The 2013 jump in CAGR was due to age-group balances being reclassified. Sources: EBRI; AllianceBernstein LP; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics