Should women just delay retirement and work longer?

Insights Report

Working longer is often proposed as a solution to retirement insecurity. As life expectancy increases and birthrates decrease in many industrialized countries, the ratio of workers to retirees changes, meaning there are fewer workers supporting retirees. Raising retirement ages and expecting people to work longer seems like an irresistible solution. But for many Americans, working longer is not a viable path to financial security.

At first glance, delaying retirement appears attractive, but many jobs available to older workers feature low wages, few benefits, and difficult working conditions. These challenges fall more heavily on women than men.

Steady employment through their 50s


Beth C. Truesdale

W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research

Lisa F. Berkman

Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies

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