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Half of retired Baby Boomers want to work, but can't

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Posted at 3:13 PM, May 15, 2015
and last updated 2015-05-18 10:34:32-04

More than 70 percent of retired baby boomers are no longer working. But half of them want to work, according to a new study.

The most common reason to stop working was poor health. In all, 8 in 10 baby boomers were off the job earlier than expected and for reasons outside of their control.

Boomers are no longer the largest generation in the United States — they lost that crown this year to millennials. But with 75 million living members, they still comprise one-third of the workforce, according to Pew.

Percent of Population 65 and Over | FindTheHome

Despite layoffs, buyouts, a sick spouse — boomers want to keep going.

For retired boomers who still do some work, nearly all of them work part-time, freelance, or seasonally and for less money than their old job. About 4 in 10 are self-employed or own a small business.

Most work for reasons other than finances. The top reasons for working during retirement were:

  • Stay sharp

  • Remain active

  • Have a sense of purpose

  • Stay connected

By contrast, most of the non-retired boomers continue working because they must. About one-third said they keep on because they want to.

The study by Bankers Life Center for a Secure Retirement surveyed more than 3,000 boomers between the age of 51 and 69 (born 1946 to 1964) with incomes ranging from $25,000 to $100,000.

Gavin Stern is a national digital producer for the Scripps National Desk.