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You Can't Delay Retirement If You Don't Have a Job
CNBC.com | September 26, 2011 | 09:39 AM EDT

At the same time, older workers are feeling more pressure to stay in the workforce. The list of reasons is long: changes to the structure of Social Security benefits (the payout is much better if you wait to take it until age 70 rathar than at age 65); the move away from defined pension plans to 401(k) plans ; the decline of retiree health insurance; and a general lack of sufficient savings and retirement funds following the Great Recession.

More than three in five U.S. workers in their 50s and 60s plan on working past age 65, according to a 2011 study from the nonprofit Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies . Almost half say they need the money or health benefits.

In 1985, roughly one in 10 of those 65 and older were in the workforce, says Jean C. Setzfand, a vice president at the American Association of Retired Persons ( AARP ).

“The percentage has increased virtually every year since then, and now stands at well over one in six, more than 17 percent," she says.

Options and Odds

Of course, some older workers—especially white-collar, professional workers—want to remain employed because they are healthy enough and simply enjoy the work.

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