updated 10/6/2009 4:27:23 PM ET 2009-10-06T20:27:23

When you hear that retirement isn't what it used to be, a first thought might be of active seniors traveling the globe instead of sitting in rocking chairs. But for plenty of Americans, especially those with little education, "retirement" involves continuing to work — and that will likely be even more common in coming years, a new study finds.

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Right now, about 15 percent of people who consider themselves "retired" do some kind of work for pay — including 5 percent who work full time, according to a survey done for consumer financial Web site Bankrate.com.

That figure may skyrocket in coming years. The survey found 75 percent of adults who are not yet retired say they plan to work "as long as they can" during retirement — 39 percent because they want to and 32 percent because they'll need the money. Another 4 percent cited both reasons.

The study found 58 percent of respondents now expect to delay their retirement because of the financial crisis. That includes 20 percent of people now planning to retire one to five years later than they had hoped, 20 percent who will work more than five years extra, and 18 percent don't ever expect to be able to retire because of the meltdown. Education plays a big factor here — 44 percent of people with a high school education or less say they will never be able to stop working because of the financial crisis.

Among those who are already retired, 53 percent say they worry at least a little about money and wish they had saved more before leaving the work force. More women, 65 percent, worry at least a little about their finances, compared with 43 percent of men. And those with the least education — a high school diploma or less — say they worry a lot about money, with 30 percent wishing they had saved more for retirement.

The survey, which used telephone interviews of 1,003 adults over age 18, found 26 percent of current retirees depend solely on Social Security for their retirement income. That's most common among retirees with a high school education or less, 37 percent of whom have no pension, annuities or retirement savings to live on. Just 6 percent of retirees with a four-year college degree or more education live just on Social Security.

Meanwhile, 36 percent of people age 18-29 have not yet set up retirement accounts or started following a strategy to save for retirement, including 40 percent of people with a high school education or less.

The survey, done for Bankrate by Princeton Survey Research Associates on Sept. 17-20 using both landline and cell phone interviews, has an overall margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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