More than half (52%) of the 1946 Boomers are now fully retired. Of those, 38% say, "I'm ready," while 17% cite health reasons and 10% attribute a job loss. Twenty-one percent remain employed full-time and 14% are working part-time; of those, most plan to retire fully by age 71, up from 69 in 2011. The figures from the MetLife Mature Market Institute represent a big jump since 2007 and 2008 when just 19% of oldest Boomers were retired and a significant leap from the 45% retired in 2011.
The Institute has studied the oldest boomer cohort on numerous occasions, most recently in 2012 with Transitioning into Retirement:The MetLife Study of Baby Boomers at 65 and The Early Boomers: How America's Baby Boomers Will Transform Aging, Work & Retirement.
The current study follows the group as they've moved from age 62 to 67, their finances, housing status, family lives and their views on generational issues. For instance, though the majority of retirees say they have less income than when they were working, lower income does not always equal a lower standard of living, as only 20% felt theirs had declined.
"As oldest Boomers dive into retirement, even though some have been forced to do so earlier than expected, they seem to be 'Feelin' Groovy,' as this group would have said during their formative years," said Sandra Timmermann, Ed.D., director of the MetLife Mature Market Institute. "They are poised to remain active and engaged. As their nests empty they seem to be largely feeling healthy and positive. On the negative side, a good half of this group may not have achieved their retirement savings goals and are not confident about paying for the next phase of their lives."
Among further findings:
- 86% are collecting Social Security benefits; 43% began collecting earlier than they had planned.
- Only 14% of oldest Boomers are working part-time or seasonally; 4% are self-employed.
- Long-term care rose to the top of the list of retirement concerns; 31% reporting concern about providing for themselves or their spouses.
- Despite the fact that they are worried about long-term care, just under a quarter owns private long-term care insurance.
- 82% want to age in place and do not plan any future moves.
- Eight percent are "upside down" on their mortgage, owing more than the value of their home
- The average number of grandchildren is 4.8.
- 79% of oldest Boomers have neither of their parents living, but more than one in 10 are providing regular care for a parent or older relative; for many, the level of care has increased.
- Oldest Boomers continue to believe they will see themselves as "old" at the age of 78.5.
- 16% of the oldest Boomers see themselves as being sharpest mentally now, in their 60s, but the largest group (30%) believes they were sharpest in their 40s.
- More than 40% of the oldest Boomers are optimistic about the future. Nearly a quarter of those are optimistic about their health, and two in 10 feel good about their personal finances.
- More than half of the oldest Boomers feel their generation is leaving a positive legacy for future generations. Values and morals and good work ethics were the top two items cited.
The nationally representative survey for Healthy, Retiring Rapidly and Collecting Social Security: The MetLife Report on the Oldest Boomers was conducted by GfK Custom Research North America on behalf of the MetLife Mature Market Institute between November 6, 2012and December 23, 2012. A total of 1,003 respondents, including 447 people from the 2011 study, were surveyed by phone -respondents were all born in 1946. Data were weighted by demographics to reflect the total Boomer population.