Washington, DC - America's workers are too busy looking for jobs to think much about the prospects of retiring. One of the longest, slowest and weakest post-recession recoveries has decimated the work force. Record numbers of people have stopped looking for jobs out of despair, skewing government unemployment reports. And, a recent Gallup poll reported that 60% of those currently in the workforce don't believe they'll ever receive Social Security when they come of age.
"It's been a depressing, a tedious and worrisome so-called recovery over the past five years and we're still not out of the woods. Individuals who once had good paying jobs are hard pressed to find employment that allows them to make ends meet, let alone put some money aside for the future. America lost nearly 9 million jobs during the Great Recession that lasted from 2007 to 2009. Statistically the country has regained the bulk of those jobs. But, for the most part, those who have gone back to work are making less money," according to Dan Weber, president of the Association of Mature American Citizens.
Catherine Collinson, president of the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, which issued its annual retirement survey this week, pointed out that more than a third of the country's workers expect they'll have to continue working well past their hoped-for retirement age.
"The long-held view that retirement is a moment in time when people reach a certain age, immediately stop working, fully retire, and begin pursuing their dreams is more myth than reality," she said. The survey showed that only 21% of the workers who were interviewed expect they'll be able to "fully retire" when the time comes. The rest expect to work, full time or part time.
Weber said that many seniors have gone back to work because they can. They are living longer, healthier lives and enjoy the camaraderie of the workplace. But most of them need the jobs in order to get by.
"The net worth of all Americans declined sharply during recession and its aftermath. But seniors have been hardest hit. And, the proof is in the numerous surveys that show there are more post-retirement job seekers out there than ever before."
But for many elderly Americans, finding work to supplement their incomes is not an option. Social Security is what puts food on their tables. "It's their principal source of income, meager as it might be, and they would face cruel hardships if they their monthly checks were cut. For them, the fact that Social Security faces major fiscal challenges in the coming years is a scary prospect. That's why it is one of the reasons AMAC has put its primary focus on the fate of Social Security in the association's meetings with lawmakers in Congress," Weber noted.