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Almost a Quarter of Americans Plan to Retire at This Age

A man plays golf on March 27, 2012 in BiA man plays golf on March 27, 2012 in Bi
The joys of retirement are being delayed by many Americans.Photograph by AFP via Getty Images

Seventy is the new 65, at least when it comes to retirement age.

Nearly 23% of working Americans said they plan to still be working as they enter their seventh decade, up from 16% seven years ago. And even the average employee (who is still aiming for the long-standing 65-year-old retirement plan) says he or she has a 50% chance that she’ll be working at age 70, according to a new Willis Towers Watson (WLTW) survey.

Willis Towers Watson, a human resources consulting firm, queried 5,100 Americans to find out about their plans for retirement. It found that the longer working employees aren’t staying extra years because they love the work. Most feel stuck in their jobs and were described, on the whole, as “less healthy, more stressed” than those people planning to give up the office life at age 65, reported Bloomberg.

As they head for retirement, employees are also less optimistic about their retirement. Nearly 76% said that they expected to be “much worse off in retirement” compared with their parents generation. On the bright side, more workers are feeling financially secure compared to two years ago.

This trend is already starting to seep into the U.S. workforce as the old age labor participation rate grows. Men who are 65 or older and still heading into work was 22% last year, up from 15% in 2003. That’s the highest share of older workers since the early 1960’s, prior to the entrance of Medicare.

Part of the reason for the aging workforce is the decline of pensions and employer subsidies for early retirement, which encouraged U.S. employees to exit the workforce at a steady rate, Steve Nyce, a senior economist at Willis Towers Watson, told Bloomberg.

The study also looked at 18 other nations and found similar trends among employees in other developed nations, including the jump in old age labor force participation and feeling pessimistic about the state of their retirement.