Many experts believe that if more people would postpone retirement by a couple years they could boost their retirement income and help keep government benefit programs solvent. And according to one survey, more folks might work longer if only their employers would ask.

   The 2008 Recent Retirees Survey sponsored by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) found that 61% of respondents would have viewed a request to delay retirement positively, while just 10% would have reacted negatively.

   But it would take more than a simple request to get people to delay retirement. Employees would also need some incentives to keep them punching the time clock, and not all of them are monetary. The EBRI survey found that nearly half (48%) of respondents felt that being truly needed for an assignment would have been either "extremely" or "very" effective in encouraging them to stay on the job. Among those who ranked this as one of the top two effective incentives, 72% said it might encourage them to remain with the company for another two years.

   Thirty-eight percent said the ability to work seasonally or on a contract basis would have been an effective inducement to delay retirement, and 77% of those who ranked this in the top two said it might induce them to work another two years.

   Other highly-ranked incentives to remain in the workplace include more money, maintaining company-subsidized health insurance benefits at a full-time worker's level while working part-time, locking in pension benefits already earned, and telecommuting.

   The EBRI survey states that 22% of employees begin to think seriously about retiring only six months before actually doing so, while another 22% think seriously about it one year before actually retiring. It concludes there's no single incentive to induce workers to postpone retirement, but that a package of alternatives could be effective in encouraging more people to stay on the job beyond retirement age.