In a similar vein, people consistently report that they plan to retire at age 65, but the median retirement age was 62, according to the EBRI survey.
Stuff happens: Layoffs from corporate downsizing, health problems and the need to care for family members are among the factors.
“There’s always been a disconnect,” said Craig Copeland, senior research associate at EBRI and a co-author of the retirement report. “There’s general optimism that people are gonna be able to get a job. But once reality sets in, things change.”
The report, which has surveyed workers and retirees for 29 years, showed that confidence about retirement was near an all-time high.
Roughly 3 in 4 retirees believe they can afford the lifestyle they’re accustomed to, the report said. And two-thirds of American workers were confident in their ability to retire comfortably.
Those metrics tend to rise when the economy is strong because investment portfolios are growing and prospects for work are strong. But conditions can turn quickly, and older workers could face more resistance in the job market.
So think hard before walking away, Copeland said — at least if you get to make the call.
“It’s easier to stay on the job than to return to work after a couple of years,” he said.