Golden Years? More Like 'Work Horse' Years, Survey Says

The lifestyle that's long been associated with the golden years -- hobby-filled days, long vacations, adventures with the grandkids -- could be changing, a new survey has found.

A growing number of Americans now expect to keep working into their 70s, according to The First Command Financial Behaviors Index, which reviews trends shaping financial behaviors, attitudes and intentions via a monthly survey of about 1,000 U.S. consumers.

Working past retirementRecent survey findings revealed that 22% of middle-income people ages 25 to 70 don't plan to retire until their 70s -- notably beyond the traditional retirement age -- up from 14% who claimed the same a year ago. The survey polled consumers with an annual household income of at least $50,000.

And when this group does retire, they'll be inclined to work part time, with half expecting to work 16 to 25 hours per week, the survey revealed.

When consumers were asked why they expected to work during what most consider to be the traditional retirement years, 49% cited the extra income, 31% said they wanted to put off tapping into their retirement savings, and 29% said they wanted to keep getting benefits.

But the surveyed group's plans for a prolonged work life isn't just financially motivated -- in fact, that might even be a secondary reason.

Indeed, 69% said they want to stay busy in their later years, 58% want to stay "intellectually engaged," 44% want the feeling of fulfillment they derive from working, and 17% cited holding on to the community aspect of the workplace.

"These findings are among the most compelling indications yet that the traditional vision of retirement is coming to an end," Scott Spikier, CEO of First Command Financial Services, the company that conducts the monthly surveys, said in a statement.

"A growing number of consumers no longer dream of filling their golden years with hobbies, family visits, travel and other leisure diversions," Spikier added. "They're not looking to escape the daily demands of the workplace."

Instead, survey findings suggest they're looking for the next iteration of their work life. "They expect to capitalize on a wealth of as-yet-unrealized opportunities in a new world of meaningful part-time work," Spikier said, "work that offers benefits well beyond those of a mere paycheck."

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