The publish-or-perish crowd dutifully punched their time clocks at this week’s Retirement Research Consortium’s annual meeting in Washington. D.C. But while much of the wisdom proffered in the papers was primarily of interest to other academics (most hopefully, the authors’ tenure review committees), there were some nuggets relevant to the real world of financial advisors.

I.O.U.s are likely to delay many baby boomers from saying “I Am Retired,” a conclusion that can be drawn from a presentation by two Urban Institute researchers.

Nearly half of Americans 62 to 69 with debt are still working while only a third of people in that age group who have no loans outstanding continue the daily grind. Between 1998 and 2010, the share of Americans 62 to 69 with debt rose from 48 percent to 62 percent. During that time, the median debt climbed to $32,000 from $19,000, probably more as a result of inflation that a surge in pampering themselves.

The researchers also found that 71 percent with debt collect Social Security while 78 percent without debts are getting a check.


Most seniors who lose their jobs and don’t find one in a year retire, found Mathew Rutledge, an economist at Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research.

“Older individuals have little tolerance for long job searches, and those who can afford to make a quick exit -- falling back on a substantial financial portfolio and annuities from Social Security and previous employers -- will do so,” said Rutledge in his treatise.

The researcher said surprisingly, spikes in the national jobless rate only modestly increase the share of the elderly who retire early.


Having a degree pays off after retiring as well as before. Professors from MIT, Harvard and Dartmouth showed average retirement savings for consumers with college degrees was about a quarter of a million dollars versus one-fifth that for people with no education beyond high school.