Americans are changing the game plan for retirement, with millions laboring right past the traditional retirement age and working into their late 60s and beyond.
While the average retirement age remains 63, that standard may soon be going the way of the gold watch – a trend expected to accelerate as baby boomers close in on retirement without sufficient savings.
For 64-year-old John Lee, "retirement" bears a strong resemblance to his full-time working career – full of 40- and 50-hour weeks as an IT technical support specialist. He’s not strapped but likes the extra cash and the feeling of being needed.
But for Melissa Fodor, a retired travel agent who works part-time as a caregiver for the elderly, the extra work "keeps my head above water" and there’s no end in sight to that financial need at age 68.
Although the work is satisfying, she confides that "financially I’m kind of scared most of the time. Because what should happen if my health and my body fail?"
Growing evidence documents that people are working longer as they live longer.
Twenty-nine percent of people in their late 60s were working in 2006, up from 18 percent in 1985, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nearly 6 million workers last year were 65 or over.
Over the next decade, the number of 55-and-up workers is expected to rise at more than five times the rate of the overall work force, the BLS reported.