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Golden years take on new meaning: Americans expect to work

July 12, 2011 |  6:00 am

Recession-weary Americans harbor no illusions of shuffleboard and daiquiris in retirement.

Instead, a growing number expect to spend their golden years toiling away at jobs and supporting adult children, according to a new survey.

Americans ages 55 and older predict they’ll have to work until they’re 69, five years longer than their expectation a decade ago, the study says. And 7 in 10 think they’ll have to provide financial assistance to their grown children.

Whether older Americans will be able to work into their late 60s is anyone’s guess. Almost half of the survey respondents said they retired sooner than planned, with 41% citing health problems and 19% saying they lost their jobs.

The survey of Americans ages 55 and older by SunAmerica Financial Group and research firm Age Wave underscores the tempered expectations and lingering bitterness in the face of a punchless economy and uncertain investment outlook.

Though it’s receded from 43% at the worst point in the recession, 28% of respondents say they’re “angry” about their financial situations today and 39% say they’re “worried” about it.

Three-quarters of respondents say the economic trauma of the last several years has provided a much-needed wake-up call, according to the study. More than 8 in 10 said securing “financial peace of mind” was their top financial goal -- easily trumping the 13% who chose “accumulating as much wealth as possible.”

As for financial peace of mind, Americans of all ages wish for that these days.

-- Walter Hamilton

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