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Money not the motive for many to work until 67

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[October 01, 2008]  DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- For medical office manager Sue Stein, working past the typical retirement age was a choice she made because she's still having fun at her job and likes the lively banter with the young medical students around her.

Stein, 69, is among the growing number of retirement-age Americans who have chosen work over leisure.

"I enjoy it," she said of her job at Stanford Hospital & Clinics in Palo Alto, Calif. "I also believe that it's better to keep your mind active. I look around at friends that don't work and I have a much broader horizon, a bigger view of the world, more people in my world than they do."

A new survey conducted by the U.S. division of Toronto-based Sun Life Financial Inc. shows nearly half of the workers in the United States expect to be working at the traditional retirement age of 67, but like Stein, most say it's not just because of money.

The random telephone survey of 1,515 workers indicated that 48 percent of workers believe they will still be working either full- or part-time at age 67. The most cited reason among them -- declared by 83 percent -- was to stay mentally engaged.

The second most common reason cited was to earn enough money to live well, cited by 77 percent of workers.


Other top reasons for continuing to work into retirement were love of career and staying close to people.

Keeping health care benefits was another commonly stated reason.

The results show that retirement will likely be redefined by Baby Boomers, a generation known for rewriting the rules, said Bob Salipante, president of Sun Life Financial's U.S. segment.

"As they've gone through life, they've kind of changed the norm and changed the standards. Retirement won't be any different," Salipante said. "There are generational differences in boomer attitudes as far as being active and being involved."

He said retirement for them may be starting another career or becoming involved in charity work or continuing part-time work.

The company calls the survey the "Un-retirement Index" because it focuses on trends involving workers remaining on the job longer. It defines unretirement as working at least 20 hours per week after 67, the age at which a U.S. worker is eligible for full Social Security benefits.

When broken down by age, the survey shows that more younger workers have an expectation of retiring at 67 than their older counterparts.

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Fifty-eight percent of workers age 30-39 believe they will be retired at 67 compared to only 45 percent of those aged 60 and over.

While the younger workers expect to retire, they also are more skeptical that Social Security will be there for them with 63 percent of workers in that age group saying they believe the government entitlement program still will be available.

The random telephone survey of 1,515 working people was conducted between Aug. 9 and Aug. 19 by Interviewing Service of America. The sample was representative of the U.S. working population between the ages of 30 and 66. The survey has a sample margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percent.

Given the choice, a large number of workers said they would reduce their spending and cut debt to improve their retirement prospects rather than try to increase their income or change their investment strategy.

The survey shows 82 percent would reduce spending while only 58 percent would alter their investments.


Less than half -- 46 percent -- of all workers are very confident that they will have enough money to take care of basic living expenses when they reach traditional retirement age, and only 28 percent are very confident they will be able to take care of medical expenses, the survey indicated.


On the Net:

Sun Life Financial Inc.: http://www.sunlife.com/

[Associated Press; By DAVID PITT]

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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