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Study finds more baby boomers are putting off retirement

By ROBERTA BAKER
New Hampshire Union Leader

September 13. 2018 11:12PM




As New Hampshire’s baby boomers age, the state’s 212,000 workers 50 to 64 are contemplating retirement in different ways and at ages older than previous generations. As people live longer and healthier lives, the 65 benchmark for stopping work to embark on a relaxed and quiet existence no longer applies for reasons ranging from inadequate retirement savings to a desire to stay as active and productive as long as possible.

A seminar series on retirement co-sponsored by Concord Hospital’s Center for Health Promotion and AARP New Hampshire, starting Tuesday from 6 to 7:30 pm at the center at 49 S. Main St. in Concord, begins with a workshop on retirement readiness. “Intro to Retirement: Are You Ready for the Next Chapter?” will cover how retirement impacts your life — retirement perceptions versus realities — and include eye-opening baby boom generation statistics.

The cost is $25 per person, $20 for AARP members. Registration is required by calling 603-230-7300. The series continues every two weeks through Nov. 13.

“Historically the retirement age of 65 was tied to eligibility for Social Security benefits,” says Todd Fahey, state director of AARP New Hampshire. “That was when life expectancies were less. Now it’s 67 and climbing. Not only do people want to work longer, a lot of people need to work longer to ensure that they can sustain themselves.”

It’s important to take a careful and complete look at health insurance options and future income sources, including Social Security benefits, which are considerably less at 62 than at age 70, and personal savings and investment accounts, as well as retirement benefits from employers or military service.

National research has shown that roughly 30 percent of workers in their 50s have saved sufficiently for retirement. 401(k) retirement savings plans offered by employers, funded by paycheck deductions and directed by employees who often don’t have the time or training to make informed investment decisions, have not fared as well as the managed pension plans of previous generations.

The good news, says Fahey, is that New Hampshire’s older, educated, and experienced workforce is looking at retirement differently, and deciding to delay by choice. An AARP survey released in 2015 found that 85 percent of New Hampshire workers over 50 enjoy working and want stay at their jobs; only 10 percent want to retire completely to a life of leisure.

“Older workers need to look at themselves differently. They’ve developed skills over many years that are transferable in many ways. Or they can find retraining in new skills,” Fahey said. “Companies can retain older employees to mentor younger workers. In a state with an educated workforce, age needs to be viewed as a capable and competitive workplace advantage.”

For those born between 1947 and 1967, retirement can be seen as a time of opportunity and personal goal fulfillment.

“The people I see are welcoming it,” Fahey says. Because they’re healthier and living longer, “they’re looking forward to volunteering, learning a new skill, becoming citizen-activists, and starting a business.”

The retirement series at the Center for Health Promotion covers health and wellness, navigating the emotional aspects of retirement, personal development during retirement, and filling your time, fine-tuning connections to community and family, and finding meaning and purpose.

Research has shown that 31 percent of baby boomers never discuss retirement — and spend more time vacation planning than retirement planning.

“A lot of time, they’re so focused on the money piece they’re not really thinking about what retirement will be like,” says Maureen Miller, the life and wellness coach leading the series. “My goal is to help people figure that out beforehand.”

Information on financial planning for retirement, including a retirement calculator, can be found at aarp.org.

Silver Linings is a continuing Union Leader/Sunday News report focusing on the issues of New Hampshire’s aging population and seeking out solutions. Union Leader reporter Roberta Baker would like to hear from readers about issues related to aging. She can be reached at rbaker@unionleader.com or (603) 206-1514. See more at www.unionleader.com/aging. This series is funded through a grant from the Endowment for Health.


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