The word "retirement" may be growing outdated. The vision of endless golf dates, sleeping late and carefree visits with children has given way to longer careers and tighter budgets as 78 million boomers drift into their 60s.
Nearly half of those currently eligible for Social Security are now planning to work in their "golden years," according to a new survey by Charles Schwab & Co., which manages retirement accounts for millions of Americans. Still, most people expect to maintain their current standard of living in their later lives, a vision that may not be realistic.
"Americans are willing to save more and work later, in the hope of maintaining their spending and lifestyle in retirement," said Stacy Hammond, director of the San Francisco-based brokerage's retirement division.
The findings aren't surprising. Prior studies have shown many workers planned to put off retirement, including some small business owners. The average 401(k) lost 38 percent in the downturn in 2008, although those who stayed in the market regained much of that this year.
Schwab's fourth quarterly survey, conducted Oct. 28-Nov. 2 of 2009, analyzed retirement plans in five age brackets: those over 65, the older boomers, younger boomers, Gen X and Gen Y.
Overall, more than half of investors are now more personally involved in retirement planning. The percentages rose after they heard of friends or family members having a hard time in retirement.
It seems that the older workers got, the later they thought they'd retire. According to the survey, 47 percent of those over 65 plan to work during "retirement," compared to only 20 percent of boomers and just 10 percent of Gen X.