It’s no secret that Americans are living longer and working longer or that both trends are likely to continue. People over 65 made up 13% of the U.S. population in 2000; they’re expected to be 20% by 2030. AARP estimates that Americans over 50 now spend $7.1 trillion annually and, as their numbers grow, that figure will more than double, to $15 trillion by 2020. So why aren’t American businesses preparing better for the future of aging, to serve their employees and their customers? And what should they be doing?
For some people, working well into their seventh to ninth decades anchors them to a fulfilling life. That’s, of course, if they love what they’re doing. I once knew a lawyer who worked until he was 102. For others, though, working hurls them down into a pit of despair. They may work for a wretched boss or company or be in an industry that’s dying. They may be physically unable to do the work. For those who are relatively healthy and engaged in their work, working well past traditional retirement age has its benefits: They may live longer. According to a recent study cited by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:
Delaying retirement has many financial benefits. You can tuck away some of your continued earnings for the future and give your existing savings more time to compound. Social Security payments also increase for those who sign up at an older age. A new study from Oregon State University found that retiring after age 65 may additionally help you live longer.