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More Americans Delaying Retirement

The retirement of older workers opens up jobs for new workers entering the labor force. But according to a new survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), many older Americans plan to continue working beyond the retirement age. This year, fully one-third (33%) of American workers expect to retire after age 65, up from a quarter (24%) 5 years ago.

EBRI, which conducts its retirement confidence survey annually, says that most reasons for delaying retirement can be traced to the recession. About 3 in 10 (29%) of those who said they have delayed retirement blame the poor economy; another 22% point to changes in their employment situation. Sixteen percent say they cannot afford to retire and 12% cite the need to make up for investment losses (12%).

Nonetheless, EBRI found more Americans very confident they will be able cover their basic needs in retirement — 29%, up from 25% last year. Yet, the findings suggest that many Americans have a way to go to make that happen.  About 7 in 10 (69%) workers say they have saved for retirement, down a little from 72% last year. But many American workers do not have much saved. More than half of Americans (54%) say the value of their home and pension (defined benefit) plans is less than $25,000. Some 27% say they have less than $1,000 in savings, 7% more than the number who said that last year.

EBRI conducted the survey of 1153 respondents — 902 workers and 205 retirees — age 25 and over in January 2010. The sample used random digit dialing, plus a supplementary sample of mobile phone exchanges, and was weighted to reflect a cross-section of the U.S. population.