Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32 Page 33 Page 34 Page 35 Page 36 Page 37 Page 38 Page 39 Page 40 Page 41 Page 42 Page 43 Page 44 Page 45 Page 46 Page 47 Page 48 Page 49 Page 50 Page 51 Page 52 Page 53 Page 54 Page 55 Page 56 Page 57 Page 58 Page 59 Page 60 Page 61 Page 62 Page 63 Page 64 Page 65 Page 66 Page 67 Page 68 Page 69 Page 70 Page 71 Page 72 Page 73 Page 74 Page 75 Page 76 Page 77 Page 78 Page 79 Page 80 Page 81 Page 82 Page 83 Page 84 Page 85 Page 86 Page 87 Page 88 Page 89 Page 90 Page 91 Page 92 Page 93 Page 94 Page 95 Page 96 Page 97 Page 98 Page 99 Page 100 Page 101 Page 102 Page 103 Page 104 Page 105 Page 106 Page 107 Page 108AGING IN THE 21S T CENTURY 20 CHAPTER 1  |  WORKING LONGER After steadily declining for several decades, Americans’ average age at retirement began increasing in the early 1990s and continues to increase. Tracking this trend and understanding its implications is especially important as the large Baby Boom generation enters retirement. Policy makers can prepare for the aging of the Baby Boom generation with a better understanding about who works longer and why. Who decides to work at older ages, and what impact do things like health, health insurance, and pensions have on this decision? Are we healthy enough to keep working past normal retirement age? What impact does retirement have on health? This chapter addresses these questions by examining HRS research on health and well-being at retirement and beyond. I mprovements in health at older ages coupled with increased take-up of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) make the issue of health trends important and unresolved. For example, HRS research finds that half of men aged 65 to 74 report no work-limiting physical impairment. Yet a significant proportion report limitations that make working at older ages dif- ficult. Using the rich set of information available in the HRS and leveraging its longitudinal aspect, researchers are evaluating predictors of labor force participation as well as consequences of decisions about working at older ages. As a whole, HRS research reveals that health is highly rele- vant in work decisions. External incentives such as Social Security, Medicare, health insurance and pensions play large roles in retirement timing as well. In addition, retirement appears to affect us both physically and mentally — sometimes for better, sometimes for worse. Trends in Working Lives Few national statistics are as closely watched as the number of people in the labor force. The Current Population Survey, a study conducted by the US Census Bureau for the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is the primary source of information on trends in labor force participation. These statis- tics and other sources confirm that Americans are working longer than in past decades. These large surveys offer accurate estimates but contain little information to explain this trend. The HRS helps fill this gap. Who is Working Longer? HRS research confirms trends found in labor statistics: we are working longer (Figures 1-1a and 1-1b). Because the HRS continues to enroll younger cohorts, researchers can document how retirement patterns change over time, comparing the behavior of younger workers to older workers at the same age. The HRS also asks participants to evaluate their probability of working past certain ages to provide a window on cohort differences in likely retirement plans. Beyond just document- ing trends, however, HRS research also reveals important information about who works longer and why.