More than 4 in 5 older Americans expect to keep working during their latter years, a sign that traditional retirement is out of reach for vast swaths of society, according to a new survey.
Among Americans ages 50 and older who currently have jobs, 82% expect to work in some form during retirement, according to the poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
In other words, "retirement" is increasingly becoming a misnomer.
"The survey illuminates an important shift in Americans' attitudes toward work, aging and retirement," said Trevor Tompson, director of the AP-NORC Center. "Retirement is not only coming later in life, it no longer represents a complete exit from the workforce."
The survey polled 1,024 people ages 50 and older.
The still-sluggish economy, battered 401(k) retirement plans and inadequate savings are upending traditional notions of retirement.
Add in an expected increase in lifespans and the result is a generation of workers facing dim financial prospects for what used to be known as the golden years.
Excluding pensions and homes, 39% of survey respondents said they have $100,000 or less saved for retirement. Nearly one-quarter have less than $10,000.
And despite conventional wisdom, people can't count on simply working until they drop.
One-third of retirees say they didn't have a choice in the decision to leave the workforce, the survey found.
In other words, many were pushed out by ill health or layoffs. Among retirees younger than 65, the figure is 54%.