Study: If You’re 50 or Older, You’re Probably Happy in Your Job

A new poll found that an overwhelming majority of older workers report they are very or somewhat satisfied in their jobs—a good thing, considering the rising retirement age.

Americans are working longer, but at least by age 50, they are happy in their work. This is according to a new study by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research [PDF], which found that nine out of 10 Americans 50 and older reported being very or somewhat satisfied with their jobs.

Older workers reported being happy in their work regardless of race, gender, educational and income levels, and political ideology, and the finding is consistent with data from the General Social Survey—a biannual comprehensive national poll of American attitudes, also conducted by NORC.

It makes sense that older workers are more satisfied, given that they’ve usually already climbed the career ladder, increased their salaries, and reached positions where they have greater security, Tom Smith, director of the General Social Survey, told the Associated Press.

Satisfaction “increases with age,” Smith said. “The older you are, the more of all these job-
related benefits you’re going to have.”

And it’s a good thing so many older workers are satisfied in their jobs, because the retirement age is rising. The AP-NORC survey found that before the Great Recession, the average retirement age was 57, but post-recession it’s climbed to 62.

The divide between working and retirement is also growing fuzzier. Forty-seven percent of those surveyed who are not yet retired reported it is very likely they will do some work for pay once they reach retirement. Thirty-five percent reported it was somewhat likely they would do some work after retirement.

For many millennials, the retirement outlook is grimmer. Many workers in generation Y will not reach retirement until age 73, according to a recent study by the financial website The report cited growing student debt and an inability to save as the reason behind the higher number.

NetWallet, which analyzed the financial profile of a typical college grad, estimated that the median debt amount of $23,300 will end up costing students more than $115,000—in today’s dollars—by the time they retire.


Katie Bascuas

By Katie Bascuas

Katie Bascuas is associate editor of Associations Now. MORE

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