I hope that in my old age, I am as happy, active and engaged as Jack Borden, a 101-year-old attorney who still works 40 hours a week at his office in Weatherford, Texas. After working for more than 70 years, Borden recently was named America's Outstanding Oldest Worker — a title annually presented to a worker over age 100 by Experience Works, a nonprofit that helps older workers gain new job skills.
Although I’ve written previously about the Oldest Worker honor, I learned about Borden from a CNN online item that my EBA colleague Elizabeth Galentine forwarded, along with a query: Why are we writing about retirement?
I certainly see why she might wonder. The article contained stats from the Pew Research Center that show 54% of workers age 65 or older do so mostly because they want to, as opposed to 17% whose main motivation is money.
Borden says if he weren’t working, “there's not much else I could do except sit in my house. Why do that when I can not only enjoy life, but help some people?"
With seniors so clearly enjoying working, why indeed do EBN and other media outlets report on a retirement crisis? Because, as the CNN article so helpfully pointed out, one of the seniors profiled is able to work just for the joy of it because “his wife of 53 years has a pension.”
And ZING! There you have it. When’s the last time you heard of someone — under age 50 — who will be able to work for pure pleasure past age 65 because they could rely on their or their spouse’s pension?
So keeping that in mind, we’ll keep on writing about retirement — and gladly. Because although I'd love to be as active and happy as Borden, I also would rather not be working.
So, speaking of pensions, new stats from Prudential Financial and CFO Research Services show that nearly half of DB plan sponsors plan to freeze or terminate their plans by 2011.
And, perhaps to help all those frozen out employees make up the difference, Watson Wyatt reports that nearly half of employers (47%) are auto-enrolling workers into 401(k) plans. “Employees need to participate more effectively in their company defined contribution plan as this is increasingly the primary vehicle they use to save for retirement,” Chris DeMeo, WW senior investment consultant, says bluntly. “Taking an interest and actively participating in their plans will allow employees to make more informed decisions and develop investment strategies that take into account their goals and risk profiles.”
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