Boomers Put Recession Behind Them and Retire in Droves

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Many baby boomers put off their retirement plans because of the ravages of the Great Recession. Now they're feeling more confident about quitting work.

That scary time called the Great Recession caused many baby boomers to put off their retirement plans or go back to work. The sharply declining value of their investment portfolios and their homes made working longer a necessity.

Suddenly, in the last two years, the number of baby boomers dropping out of the workforce has taken a big jump, Bloomberg reports. It’s one reason the U.S. jobless rate has dropped to 6.3 percent.

Why is this happening? It appears that after five years of robust stock returns, many boomers — those born between 1946 and 1964 — feel more comfortable about giving up work and careers and figure it’s finally time to get on with the rest of their lives. We wish them well! (And if you’re thinking about retiring soon, don’t make these eight mistakes.)

Things have gotten better for many people. Bloomberg says:

Household wealth in the U.S. climbed by $2.95 trillion in the final three months of 2013 to an all-time high. Average 401(k) balances almost doubled from 2009 to reach a record $89,300 last year, with 78 percent of the annual increase due to the stock market rally, according to Fidelity Investments, the U.S.’s largest provider of 401(k) retirement assets. For pre-retirees 55 and older, the average balance was $165,200, Fidelity said.

No doubt some of the boomers lost jobs, never found another again and are now scraping by with the help of Social Security. Some say the boomers’ participation in the workforce has fallen simply because this massive population group is aging every year.

And let’s not forget that many boomers are still working. Bloomberg says, “About 8 million people aged 65 and older are working, a 72 percent jump from a decade ago.”

Still, it seems that many more boomers are feeling able to retire. USA Today reported earlier this year, “About 76 percent of those leaving the workforce in 2013 … represented people over age 55 who say they don’t want jobs, the Labor Department estimates.”

Are you feeling more comfortable with your prospects for retiring? Share your thoughts below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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