Gary Smith (center), 73, helps Darren Sligh (foreground), with checking-in as Doug Graham, security supervisor, answers a call at CryoLife, where Smith works as a security officer, in Kennesaw. Smith, 73, retired for two years but came back to work at 69, working for Allied Universal, the security company. Older workers are the fastest growing segment of the employed in Georgia and the U.S. (Hyosub Shin /
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Survey: nearly 4 in 10 working seniors can’t afford to retire

Some 37% percent of seniors who still work say they stay on the job because they cannot afford to retire. 

Another 25 percent give other financial reasons for working, from paying off the mortgage to helping out the family.

Provision Living, which operates 15 senior living communities in four Midwestern states, surveyed 1,032 working Americans 65 and older in August to find out why people are putting off retirement. They found lots of interesting information:

  • 47% of those still working wish they were retired.
  • 33% want to continue working.
  • 20% want to work, but work fewer hours.
  • 36% fear being laid off because of their age, and one in three say they have experienced prejudice against older workers.

About one of every four people 65 to 74 still work, according to national numbers. That is expected to grow to one of every three by 2025. About one in ten aged 74 and older still work.

Read the AJC’s deep look into why Atlantans continue to work past 65.

Those surveyed told Provision Living they have saved on average $133,108 for retirement.  College-educated seniors have saved more, $169,180, and non-college-educated seniors have $80,221 tucked away.

  • 70% say Social Security will be their primary income after retirement.
  • 37% will depend on a pension.
  • 37% have a 401(k).
  • 27% will lean on personal savings.
  • 20% say stocks will be the primary source of income,
  • And 11% will depend on family to support them after retirement.

Other reasons to continue working? Some 45% percent say they still enjoy it; 18% work to stave off boredom; 6% say their jobs also provide important social contacts.

And when do they think they’ll hang it up? Those taking the survey estimated they’ll finally retire at 72.

You can read the survey results here.

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