For the Wealthy, Work Is the New Retirement

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The trend toward longer, healthier lives benefits higher-income individuals disproportionately. Higher-income workers are more likely to be in occupations in which physical decline is less of an impediment to working into one’s late 60s or 70s. Those in the bottom three income quintiles face a 64% chance of suffering an age-related decline in ability to work, for example, while those in the top quintile of income face only a 25% chance. As a result, the highly educated tend to work longer.

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Karen Harris is managing director of Bain & Company’s Macro Trends Group and is based in the firm’s New York office. Austin Kimson is director of Bain’s Macro Trends Group and is based in the Dallas office. Andrew Schwedel is a partner in the New York office.