More Than 60% of 65-Year-Olds Already Collecting Social Security
Despite the popular belief that Baby Boomers will continue to work well
past the traditional retirement age of 65, those born in 1946 are
retiring in droves, according to Transitioning
into Retirement: The MetLife Study of Baby Boomers at 65. This
study is a follow-up to the 2008 MetLife Mature Market Institute study, Boomer
Bookends: Insights into the Oldest and Youngest Boomers
(released in 2009), which looked at the same segment of Boomers at age
62 and includes 450 of the same interview subjects from the original
The study reports that 59% of the first Boomers to turn 65 are at least
partially retired - 45% are completely retired and 14% are retired, but
working part-time. Of those still working, 37% say they'll retire in the
next year and on average plan to do so by the time they're 68. Half
(51%) of those who are retired say they retired earlier than they had
expected. Of those who retired early, four-in-ten say they did so for
health reasons. The majority (85%) of respondents consider themselves
healthy, and almost all (96%) retirees say they like retirement at least
somewhat. Seven-in-ten (70%) like it a lot.
Almost two-thirds, 63% of respondents, are already collecting Social
Security benefits, and on average began doing so at the age of 63,
defying the conventional wisdom that people would choose to wait to
receive benefits until a later age in order to receive a higher payout.
Among those in the survey, just over 60% are confident that the Social
Security system will be able to provide adequate benefits for their
Regarding the attitude of these respondents, the data shows that 43% of
those polled are optimistic about the future. Of the 19% who are
pessimistic about what's ahead, 49% fault the government and 21% blame
the economy. The 65-year-old Boomers do not consider themselves old; on
average they won't consider themselves to be old until they're age 79, a
year older than reported in 2007.
"Many of the Boomers weathered the recession well and have been able to
stop working. Half of all Boomers feel confident that they are on track
or have already hit their retirement goals," said Sandra Timmermann,
Ed.D., director of the MetLife Mature Market Institute. "We found that
more are homeowners today than 2008, that the value of their homes
decreased by only about 5.2% on average, that the majority feel they're
in good health and that 83% have grandchildren. Overall, it's a pretty
confident group of Americans."
The average retirement age for the 1946 Boomers is 59.7 for men and
57.2 for women.
24% have a living parent.
84% are parents; 83% are grandparents, up from 77% in 2008.
Of those not retired, 61% plan to retire at the same age as they
planned one year ago.
31% of 65-year-old Boomers think they were at their sharpest mentally
in their 40s; only 20% say they're at their sharpest today.
Home ownership increased significantly among the studied cohort since
2008, from 85% to 93%.
71% are married or in a domestic partnership; 12% are divorced or
separated; 10% are widowed and 7% are single.
into Retirement: The MetLife Study of Baby Boomers at 65 was
conducted by GfK Custom Research North America on behalf of the MetLife
Mature Market Institute in November 2011. A total of 1,012 respondents
born in 1946 were surveyed by random digit-dial telephone contact. The
sample was among 942 respondents from the previous wave of Boomer
Bookends: Insights into the Oldest and Youngest Boomers who
agreed to be re-contacted. A total of 450 respondents completed the
follow-up survey. The sample was supplemented by an additional sample of
562 respondents from Dunhill. Data were weighted by demographics to be
representative of the total U.S. Baby Boomer population.
The MetLife Mature Market Institute®
Celebrating its 15-year anniversary in 2012, the MetLife Mature Market
Institute is Metropolitan Life Insurance Company's (MetLife) center of
expertise in aging, longevity and the generations and is a recognized
thought leader by business, the media, opinion leaders and the public.
The Institute's groundbreaking research, insights, strategic
partnerships and consumer education expand the knowledge and choices for
those in, approaching or working with the mature market.
The Institute supports MetLife's long-standing commitment to identifying
emerging issues and innovative solutions for the challenges of life.
MetLife, Inc. is a leading global provider of insurance, annuities and
employee benefit programs, serving 90 million customers in over 50
countries. Through its subsidiaries and affiliates, MetLife holds
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Deb Caruso, 212-971-9708