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GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - A recent survey finds the average retirement age in the U.S. is climbing.

According to Gallup, the average age is now 61, up from 57 two decades ago, and it's expected to continue to rise.

So why are we working longer?

Financial Advisor, Dan Ament, with Morgan Stanley of Wayzata spoke on KARE 11 Sunrise about the continuing trend.

Average U.S. retirement age today is 61 - The average age at which U.S. retirees say they actually retired is now at 61, up from 57 in the early 1990s. This has crept up by four years over the past two decades, from 57 in 1991 to the current 61.

Average non-retired American plans on retiring at age 66 - This is up from age 60 in 1995 according to the Gallup survey. While the average current retiree stopped working at age 61, those still working expect to work well beyond that age. The average non-retired American currently expects to retire at age 66, up from 60 in 1995. Currently, 37% of non-retired Americans say they expect to retire after age 65, 26% at age 65, and 26% before age 65. The most notable change over time is the increase in those expecting to work past age 65 -- the 37% this year is up from 22% a decade ago and 14% in 1995. Meanwhile, the percentage of non-retirees who say they expect to retire before age 65 has declined to 26% from 49% in 1995.

19% of age 65 and older are in workforce - Moreover, 8% of those age 75 and older are still working as of April 19th, 2013. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics also show that for workers 55 and over, the labor force participation rate, which includes both the employed and those who would like to be employed shows the following. About 30 percent of those 55-and-older were working in the early 1990s. Since 2008, about 40 percent of the 55+ have remained in the work force. In the early 1990s, about 11 percent of those 65 and older remained in the workforce. By contrast, this April, 19 percent remained at work, according to the most recent monthly calculations from the BLS.
Younger workers still dreaming of early retirement - While more than half of non-retirees aged 58-64 project retirement after age 65, only 30% of those under 30 and 38% of those 30-49 expect to retire after 65.

Is the change due to the economic fallout beginning in 2008? While it would seem easy to attribute the change in later retirement to the crisis impacting hopeful retirees, that is not necessary the case. "Because most of the uptick came before the 2008 recession, this shift may reflect more than just a changing economy," Gallup's associate editor wrote in her report on the study. "It may also indicate changing norms about the value of work, the composition of the workforce, the decrease in jobs with mandatory retirement ages, and other factors."

The trend is your friend - While the idea of a longer career may not be appealing at first blush, contemplate the benefits cited by those ahead of you who feel differently. For those working longer by necessity, the added years provide you additional time to save more for retirement and allow your nest egg to grow by delaying withdrawals. In addition, given the increasing costs related to health care coverage, waiting to retire after qualifying for Medicare offers some significant savings. There are also those who work longer by choice; enjoying the continued challenge, mental engagement and social interaction of their daily work.

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