Education Plays into Retirement Plans

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NEW YORK (AP) — When you hear that retirement isn't what it used to be, a first thought might be of active seniors traveling the globe instead of sitting in rocking chairs. But for plenty of Americans, especially those with little education, "retirement" involves continuing to work — and that will likely be even more common in coming years, a new study finds.

Right now, about 15% of people who consider themselves "retired" do some kind of work for pay — including 5% who work full time, according to a survey done for consumer financial Web site Bankrate.com.

That figure may skyrocket in coming years. The survey found 75% of adults who are not yet retired say they plan to work "as long as they can" during retirement — 39% because they want to and 32% because they'll need the money. Another 4% cited both reasons.

The study found 58% of respondents now expect to delay their retirement because of the financial crisis. That includes 20% of people now planning to retire one to five years later than they had hoped, 20% who will work more than five years extra, and 18% don't ever expect to be able to retire because of the meltdown. Education plays a big factor here — 44% of people with a high school education or less say they will never be able to stop working because of the financial crisis.

Among those who are already retired, 53% say they worry at least a little about money and wish they had saved more before leaving the work force. More women, 65%, worry at least a little about their finances, compared with 43% of men. And those with the least education — a high school diploma or less — say they worry a lot about money, with 30% wishing they had saved more for retirement.

The survey, which used telephone interviews of 1,003 adults over age 18, found 26% of current retirees depend solely on Social Security for their retirement income. That's most common among retirees with a high school education or less, 37% of whom have no pension, annuities or retirement savings to live on. Just 6% of retirees with a four-year college degree or more education live just on Social Security.

Meanwhile, 36% of people age 18-29 have not yet set up retirement accounts or started following a strategy to save for retirement, including 40% of people with a high school education or less.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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