New Year's Day this year brought with it more than just the start of another year. The dawning of 2011 also marked a milestone: The first of the nation's 76 million baby boomers turn 65, traditionally the age at which many Americans start retirement and all the life changes that brings with it.

A new poll suggests, however, that a majority of Americans aren't keen on tossing in the towel on their careers at age 65, with 71% saying they believe workers should be encouraged to stay on the job, according to a survey conducted by Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the survey found that older Americans by greater percentages thought boomers (born 1946 through 1964) should stay in the workforce past retirement age, including 75% of boomers themselves and 79% of the generation that preceded them who fought in World War II.

A Stiff Price for the Post-War Population Boom

Though by smaller percentages, a majority of younger Americans also said boomers should keep working past retirement age, with 65% of Generation X (born 1965 to 1981) and 62% of the Millennial generation (born 1982 to 2000) backing the idea of working past 65.

Further, the Marist poll showed that 69% of Americans -- including 71% of Gen X-ers and 61% of Millennials -- believe they have a responsibility to provide for those who retire before them. Despite strong numbers that show respondents feel they should provide for retirees, the Marist survey also reveals many are fearful that society and the economy will pay a stiff price for the post-war population explosion.

Some 61% of Americans are worried or very worried that baby boomers will bankrupt Social Security, while 59% believe the needs of aging boomers may overload the U.S. health care system.

Generally Satisfied So Far


Whether those fears will be borne out remains to be seen. But one thing is clear: Baby boomers plan to hang around for a while. A recent AARP survey showed that on average those turning 65 in 2011 expect to live until they're 85.2 years old -- only 3.5 years short of the average length of time they want to live -- 88.7 years.

Overall, AARP says its survey of 801 Americans who turn 65 this year reveals that boomers are generally satisfied with their lives and optimistic about the next third of life, though they continue to face nagging concerns about financial security and improving their health.

Health and financial stability affect boomers' outlook, with many saying they expect and want more time with family and friends, and are concerned about their children's future. As with their own parents, AARP found, boomers turning 65 don't plan to move. "Aging in place" is desirable because boomers have established lives where they now live.

Still, in one aspect boomers turning 65 are different from their parents in that they view work as a core part of retirement. Indeed, a significant percentage of those polled by AARP said they would "never consider themselves retired." That is, of course, different from they way boomers' parents defined retirement -- as a time to travel, enjoy and relax but with little work outside hobbies or charity activities.

What's more, many boomers simply can't retire. Squeezed by caring for elderly parents and children who have moved home or need financial assistance in the wake of the Great Recession, many boomers find they don't have the time or financial wherewithal to retire.

Regardless, it appears many boomers are content to take on the challenges that life continues to throw at them -- even if they aren't as young as they used to be.

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Intro to Retirement

Get started early planning for your long term future.

View Course »

Goal Setting

Want to succeed? Then you need goals!

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

502 Comments

Filter by:
tsafa

If Baby Boomers had not wasted their time smoking pot and going to peace protests, perhaps they would not have to work into retirement. Things went to sh1t when we pulled out of Vietnam. Here is a hint... winning wars is always good. Pulling out before you obtaining complete mastery over your opponent is always bad.

January 06 2011 at 10:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
tsafa

The whole Soc Sec system should be transferred to the individual states. It should have never been created in the first place. It does not say anywhere in the Constitution that the Federal Government should be running a retirement program. Defense, Trade, Currency Stability these are the functions of the Federal Government... and only that.

January 06 2011 at 10:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
donnareed4

We did all the right things to save for our retirement. We saved in the bank, we put into 401K's, we paid our bills on time, didn't put ourselves into debt with credit cards. Save for our childs college and paid for it without any loans. 5 years, masters degree. But then 2008 hit. Greedy , oil producers, speculators hit us hard. 401K cut in half. savings used for emergencies. Food prices, clothes prices, gas prices went up up up and have never come down. We bought smaller cars, stopped buying name brands, no more Tide for me. But can we retire at 65? No way. Saving is almost impossible. Going to the grocery store is almost double. Stores give sales after they jack up the price in the first place. Takes double in gas to drive anywhere. Filled up father in laws car $50. They can't afford it. It is a shame that a recession didn't wake us up maybe with gas prices up and up again , our next step will be a full blown depression. Then it won't matter to retire or not. It is a shame what we use to enjoy can never be.

January 04 2011 at 4:42 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
jeff

If you are over fifty years old and don't find work to keep paying in to SS. You lose it that what the Government want so they can keep giving it to those that come here. That don't pay into it. GOVERNMENT only want the AMERICAN PEOPLES to lose their DREAM. They are doing that by uping the retirement age so the AMERICAN PEOPLES have to work longer. They do't care about the AMERICAN PEOPLES.
They only care about the other peoples that come here. Give them the DREAM-ACT. That the AMERICAN PEOPLES should have for working all those years. All we got in GOVERNMENT is lawer and the wealthy peoples not a working AMERICAN who know what it take to live day by day pay check to pay check. All they know how to do is take from the AMERICAN WORKER to BENEFIT them. Look at the UNEMPLOYMENT they say 9% that not counting the one that been UNEMPLOY for over two years that cann't find a JOB. Where the JOBS over sea they need to get out of office and go over sea. They send all the money over there and all the jobs. Maybe they need to go over there to get pay and have benefit.

January 04 2011 at 4:38 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
June Chesser

SS was solvent for eons until money grabbing, greedy politicians robbed the bank to pay for useless programs in the 80's. If they wanted money to do research as to why a child fell from their tricycles or some stupid crap, they dipped into SS. The sad thing is that these jerk off's never/ever learn. Now it is too late; and we end up with the dirty end of the stick...ie: Obama's health care plan. We and our great grandchildren will be crying all the way to the bank to pay for this catastrophe.

January 04 2011 at 3:16 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
Newquest

"Paying a stiff price"? It's just doing what's right! Just like the generationss before. Just like will be done for the future generations. Unless you all let this Tee Hee Party convince you that there is only two sides: The Right side and the Wrong side! They don't think there is anything that can be compromised on, Nothing! How Wrong is that? Who wants Anyone, any side who thing so Divided, so Uncompromising, so Biased? You'd better think Long and Hard about who you elect. At what point in your life did you stop thinking for Yourself? Start following only somesone ONLY: Of your voting party, of your color, of your religion, of your nationality, Background? Look around, are all your friends the Same? Are you Inntolerant? Is that what you were taught? Only ONE person or club or church knows the Right way and Everyone else is Wrong? Who can't see that this will not work! Is not right! We Are all one, wheather you like it or not. Intolerance just doesn't work, anywhere. Cliques either. People need to be held Accountable.

January 04 2011 at 12:40 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
johndson

As a baby boomer who cannot survive on SS or IRA's started in the early 80's I think it's time for a reality check. So let's first thank the idiots who think that free market deregualtion has served anyone other than CEO's. A special shout out to the insurance industry for selling mutual funds that collapsed all at the same time, leaving the insurance industry unharmed and ALL of it;s mutual funds holders back at zero. Let's give some credit to the health care insurance providers who have taken 30% pure profit off the top and cancelled anyone who was actually sick for 4 decades. The deregulated mortgage companies and lenders who managed to destroy our housing makets and make our decades of home equity and property values disintegrate in less than 3 years! Then there is Enron, World.com., Lehman Brothers, Countryside Mortgage, Bear Sterns, and a very special shout out to Reaganomics and Bush-o-nomics for exaserbating the eintire collpase and driving individual wealth and our economy off a cliff.

January 04 2011 at 12:25 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to johndson's comment
dmf4357

So, why not put the money in the bank, a savings account perhaps? You would have that amount plus interest over a 30 year period! Just curious, what economics courses have you taken, or do you just regergitate the liberal mantra. Here's a news flash, liberals are communists! Most of the companies you listed gave large amounts of money for Obama to get elected and received kick backs from the "stimulus" bills. Housing was reregulated under Clinton, scripted by Dodd and Frank! Who wrote the bills saying banks had to lend to everyone who applied for a home loan? Dodd, and Frank! Their names are on the bills! You shamelessly blame everyone but the one person who had the ability to put your money in an interest baring savings account.

January 04 2011 at 12:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sdspas2

Could it be that AARP and our government wants retires to work longer so they can continue to pay into the system and use private insurance rather than Medicare? As for those who think private retirement accounts would be better-you need to read the article in the drudge report this morning. Five countries in the EU have taken the funds in private pension accounts to fund their goverments. In other words to make up the money that was given to the bankers.

January 04 2011 at 12:16 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
danceshorses

Unemployment rate is highest for the youngest group. Maybe us oldsters should retire and let the youth do the work.

January 04 2011 at 11:55 AM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply
Judann

give me a brake .I don't beleave for one min that many viewers watched monkey opr.What do you think the american people a stupid as her NOT.Some one tell her to just go away one's an for all Nasty an Gross.

January 04 2011 at 11:30 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply