The U.S. stock market has been booming, and that appears to be inducing a growing number of Baby Boomers to go ahead and retire. According to an analysis by the Federal Reserve of Philadelphia, retirees have accounted for 80 percent of the decline in the labor force participation rate since 2012. Since the beginning of the bull market on Wall Street in 2009, the number of those aged 55 and older leaving the workforce has increased by more than 2 percent each year, the fastest clip since the technology bubble of 2000 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Household wealth in America climbed by nearly $3 trillion during the final 3 months of 2013 to an all-time high. Average 401(k) balances almost doubled from 2009 to reach a record $89,300 last year, with 78 percent of the annual increase attributable to the stock market rally according to Fidelity. For those who have yet to retire and are 55 or older, the average balance exceeded $165,000. Of course, the booming stock market hasn’t helped everyone. Stock holdings are concentrated among the wealthiest 20 percent of boomers, who own 96 percent of all equities controlled by the group according to Vanguard.