Stung by a weak job market, declining earnings and low home values, older Americans have accepted the reality of a retirement that comes later in life and no longer represents a complete exit from the workforce.
According to a recent poll, some 82% of working Americans age 50 or older say it is at least somewhat likely they will work for pay in retirement.
The survey also found that 47% of working survey respondents now expect to retire later than they previously thought and, on average, plan to call it quits at about 66.
These very same workers who are forced to delay retirement are also expected to fund the retirements of the more than 50% of Illinois’ nearly 200,000 government pensioners who retired at the age of 59 or younger.
Unlike their private sector counterparts, Illinois government workers are able to retire before the age of 60 while collecting most of their final average salary.
Members of the Teachers’ Retirement System, for example, can retire at age 55 with 30 years of service and still draw more than 70% of their final average salary.
University workers can retire as early as 50 with 30 years of service and still draw more than 65% of their final average salary.
Government workers are retiring and living longer, putting a tremendous strain both on taxpayers and the pension systems themselves.
It’s also unfair to force taxpayers to bail out a broken pension system that allows government workers to retire a decade or more before they can. Not to mention the young government workers who are trapped in a pension system that may collapse before they reach retirement age.
If Illinois lawmakers are serious about pension reform, they will align government worker retirement age with those in the private sector.