September 10, 2013 — It’s one of the first questions you will probably get as a new retiree – what will you do all day? A new study from the Bureau of Labor Statistics has some of the answers, which include … more time on many of the things you do already, but less time on some activities that you might not have enjoyed that much anyway. The Bureau’s American Time Use Survey was the focus of today’s New York Times article – “Americans at Leisure, or Still at Work“. We will highlight some of the key findings of this and some other recent studies. (The Times Retirement section also has several other worthwhile articles, including ones on the Senior Discount, Annuities, and Starting a Business).
Work – or Play?
One of the survey’s most interesting findings is that more people today over 65 are working. A decade ago 13.9% of those over 65 were in the workforce, today that is up 18.7%. Some 20% of Americans aged 70-74 are working, which declines to 7.5% for those 75 and older. Those who do work typically spend just over 6 hours a day on the job. Another study from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College found a similar increase – the % of men aged 60-74 who were either in the workforce or looking for work increased from 33% in 1993 to 44% in 2010. Researchers give several possible reasons for the increase: smaller pensions, continued family responsibilities, and longer lifetimes. Increased education and demand for the skills of older workers are additional reasons.
People over 65 definitely have more fun than younger people – or at least they get to spend more time on fun things. They spend a little more time sleeping and eating and drinking. The same goes for sports, exercise, and walking. They are have significantly more time for household activities such as housework, pets, and gardening. But when it comes to socializing, relaxing, and leisure – older Americans really have it better – they have almost 3 hours more for those activities than younger people 25-34. Older Americans spend an average of 4 hours and 40 minutes a day watching TV and movies at home, about an hour and a half longer than the younger set. Older folks are also more likely to read for leisure – 43% say they regularly read for personal interest, about 2 hours a day on average. Only 15% of the 25-54 cohort regularly read for enjoyment.
What older folks do less of
Even though many a baby boomer is sandwiched – that is they care for aging parents and children or grandchildren who need help – there is a big drop in the amount of time folks 65 and over use for taking care of others. And somewhat oddly, older people travel less than young ones, although part of that is no longer have the need for business travel.
More Time and Longer Lives
The latest longevity statistics are a bit eye-popping. Men who live to age 65 have an average life expectancy of 17.8 years, while women have 20.4 more. That contributes to the unbalanced gender demographics that exist in old age – for every 100 men over age 65, there are 131 women. While 45% of women at 65 are older are married, 72% of men are married.
Does money make you happy? Apparently it does, at least according to a Towers Watson survey. Of those with a nest egg of more than $500,000, 65% were satisfied with retirement. That compares to 55% for those with $150,000 to $500,000, and just 38% with nest eggs less than $150,000.
For further Reading
Can Educational Attainment Explain Higher Labor Force Participation Among Older Ages
Why Interning at Age 60 is the New Retirement Plan
Comments? Are you working, or want to work? If so, what is your primary motivation? What do you do for fun – is it different than when you were younger? And also, what do you do less of now that you are retired? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the Comments below.