Pittsburgh — At 64 years old, Bob Mock has worked as a self-employed skating instructor for nearly 40 years, and he has no plans to slow down.
"I learned a long time ago, if you want a raise, you work harder or you work more," said Mock, who works between six and seven days a week. "That's what I do."
With no pension or corporate retirement plan to fall back on, Mock has been contributing to an SEP-IRA and a Roth IRA savings plan for the past four decades.
"I have a good financial program that I have set in motion for myself because there is no pension plan for skating coaches," he said. "So you have to make sure that you are looking forward and making sure that you're funding those accounts.
"Then I keep working because that's what I like to do."
While previous generations could rely on pensions that provided a fixed monthly income for life, many baby boomers reaching retirement age realize the onus of paying for retirement falls squarely on their own shoulders. Many also did not save as well as their parents did.
Baby boomers — born between 1946 and 1964 — fall into two broad categories, said George Walper, president of Spectrem Group, a Chicago market and research consulting firm focused on the investment and retirement needs of consumers.
"Many are covered by pensions and, for those folks, retirement looks pretty good because they get a monthly check," Walper said. "The other group has worked the latter part of their career with only a 401(k). If they weren't contributing enough or didn't invest well enough, they may be a little short for assets.
"We did some focus groups last year and the happiest group of baby boomers were school teachers; city, county and state workers; and anybody else who was covered by pensions because they had pretty reasonable monthly income."
Retirement assets have benefited from strong equity markets in recent years. Following a strong stock market in 2013, assets at the end of that year — the most recent data is available — had grown to $19 trillion, compared to $16.3 trillion at the end of 2012, according to Spectrem Group.
But what about those who have been unable to save for whatever reasons?
According to the Washington, D.C.-based Pew Research Center, as of Jan. 1, 2011, the oldest members of the baby boom generation celebrated their 65th birthday. Every day for the next 19 years, 10,000 baby boomers will turn 65 each day.
Many of them will have no choice but to stay in the workforce as long as their health will allow.
"So many of them spent everything they earned for living expenses, their kid's college and everything else," said Thomas Mackell Jr., former chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, Va., and author of "When the Good Pensions Go Away."
"I read statistics recently saying to have a decent normal retirement you need $2 million saved up," said Mackell. "You need $250,000 to protect you if you have no health insurance.
"A very substantial number of baby boomers will never be able to afford to retire," he said. "I've talked to a number of individuals who tell me they will work until they drop."