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Study: Many Americans Do Not Plan to Retire


FILE -- Caregiver Warren Manchess, 74, left, shaves Paul Gregoline, 92, in Noblesville, Indiana. The share of the U.S. population over age 60 is expected to rise by 40 percent between 2010 and 2050.
Study: Many Americans Do Not Plan to Retire
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Almost one in four Americans say they do not plan to retire.

That is a finding of a survey released this week. The survey was a project of The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation provided money for the study.

Researchers questioned about 1,400 adults in the United States. Twenty-three percent of those questioned said they do not expect to stop working. Another 25% said they will continue working after they reach age 65.

Government records show that around 20% of people 65 and older were working or looking for a job in June.

For many Americans, money has a lot to do with the decision to keep working.

Anqi Chen is with the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College in Massachusetts.

“The average retirement age that we see in the data has gone up a little bit, but it hasn’t gone up that much,” Chen said. “So people have to live in retirement much longer, and they may not have enough assets to support themselves in retirement.”

The survey also found that Americans have mixed ideas about how the aging U.S. workforce affects workers. Some 39% think people staying in the workforce longer is mostly good for American workers. But 29% of those questioned think it is bad. Around 30% say it makes no difference.

A somewhat higher share, 45%, said they think it has a good or positive effect on the U.S. economy.

Experts say sickness, workforce reductions and other issues often force older workers to leave their jobs sooner than they would like.

Larry Zarzecki once worked as a police officer in Maryland. He stopped working in his 40s after developing a tremor in his right hand. He also developed other mental and physical symptoms.

At age 47, tests showed he was suffering from Parkinson’s disease. Now 57 and living in the city of Baltimore, Zarzecki says he has learned to make difficult choices “to help make ends meet.”

“People like me, who are average, everyday working people, can have something catastrophic happen, and we lose everything because of medical bills,” he added.

Zarzecki has since helped found a non-profit organization called Movement Disorder Education and Exercise. The group offers support and treatment programs to those with similar diseases. He has also contacted state and national lawmakers and asked them to control rising prescription drug prices.

Zarzecki receives pension money and health insurance through the state, but he spends more than $3,000 each year on medicines.

“I can’t afford, nor will my insurance cover, the most modern medication there is for Parkinson’s,” he says.

I'm John Russell.

Andrew Soergel reported on this story for the Associated Press. John Russell adapted the story for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

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Words in This Story

asset – n. something that is owned by a person, business or other organization — usually plural

bit – n. a small part of piece

asset – n. the money, property and/or other possessions of a person or organization

tremor – n. shaking, usually resulting from a physical weakness or disease

make ends meet – idiom to pay for the things that you need to live when you have little money

catastrophic – adj. involving a terrible disaster

bill – n. a written note or document

pension – n. an amount of money that a company or the government pays to a person who is old or sick and no longer works

insurance – n. a method of guaranteeing protection or safety

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