Filipino seniors postpone retirement amid tough economy

By Connie Macatula-de Leon, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Jan. 30, 2014

WHEATON, Ill. – A recent Gallup poll shows that close to half of baby boomers those born in the 1950s and early 1960s plan to hold off on their retirement.

According to the poll, 49 percent say they will not retire until they are at least 66 years old, going beyond today’s average retirement age of 61.

The poll also found that one out of 10 people surveyed doesn’t plan to retire at all. One of their reasons for delaying retirement is lack of financial security.

And at least 66 percent of those surveyed say they do not enjoy their jobs.

Emma Bautista, 59, is a grandmother of four. She does not plan to retire as a caregiver anytime soon. More than anything else, she works hard because her family needs her.

“A lot of relatives still depend on me,” Bautista said. “I still have one child in Manila.”

Bautista said she also has to continue working. Otherwise, she won’t be able to afford living in America. US officials predict that food prices overall will rise about three percent this year.

As it is, she barely gets by with her income. But Bautista said, while she still can, she will keep working to save money, in preparation for the time when she finally retires.

“I’m not getting any younger,” she said “One needs to be prepared for old age.”

But with old age come physical difficulties. And it’s getting harder for Bautista to meet the demands of her work.

“I really need to work, especially when you don’t have insurance,” she said.

Bautista said she works as a caregiver because it’s one of the few jobs out there that don’t discriminate age. For other seniors who are unemployed but need to work, finding employment continues to be tough, especially when they have to compete with much younger applicants who are also struggling to survive in America.

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