NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Many American workers have begun proclaiming the end of retirement. An Allianz study released last week found that 82% of baby boomers -- and Gen Xers -- claim that a traditional retirement is a "romantic fantasy of the past." A recent headline declared, "70 Is the New 65." A few years ago, a Wells Fargo survey of "pessimistic" workers facing delayed retirement inspired headlines in the financial media of "80 Is the New 65." Forget golf and antiquing: It's a work-till-you-drop world.
Now, a new study from Bankers Life finds 41% of baby boomers still in the workplace expect to work beyond age 69 -- or never retire. Of those already retired, 69% of middle-income baby boomers say they would have liked to have been able to work longer.
You would think that such a never-ending work ethic might be rooted in financial fear. But of the retired baby boomers who do have a job, the respondents say it’s not just a money thing. In fact, six in 10 say they work for nonfinancial reasons -- because they want to, not because they have to. Those surveyed cite such reasons as staying mentally sharp (18%) and physically active (15%), as well as maintaining a sense of purpose (15%).
Working simply because you want to may sound like a great life, but digging deeper into the survey reveals a dark reality. While boomers may want to work in retirement, most retired boomers (72%) aren’t working at all. And half of those who don't work would like to have a job but can't get one, mostly due to health issues.