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Older Folks Keep Working

Last update on: Mar 14 2020

It’s no secret that on average people are retiring later than they used to. But what’s the cause? Was it the financial crisis? No, the trend was in place well before that? This article explores several possibilities and concludes that, for most, good health and jobs that aren’t physically demanding keep them in the work force. The article also touches on whether or not the trend is good for the overall economy.

While many point to the recession wiping out retirement savings as a catalyst for seniors to keep working, the rise in the last decade is part of a long-term trend. The participation rate for the 65-plus group began climbing in the mid-1980s after falling for four decades when flush social security benefits created an incentive to retire.

“They were leaving a lot of potential on table,” said Matt Rutledge, an economist at Boston College whose research focuses on labor market outcomes for the elderly. “They could’ve helped shore up their own financial needs, they could’ve helped a younger generation if they needed support, and they could’ve contributed more taxes into the system. If they were not working, they were not doing those things.”

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