By Melanie Hicken, CNNMoney
New York (CNNMoney) –While most people dream of the day they can retire, many college professors plan to put it off or work until their final years.
The sluggish economy has made people in all professions question whether their nest eggs will get them through retirement. Professors are no different - plus many of them love their jobs too much to leave. But paired with the fact that colleges and universities are offering a smaller percentage of tenure-track spots, it's making it increasingly tough for aspiring professors to start their careers.
A Fidelity survey released Monday echoes prior studies and anecdotal evidence that found many professors are teaching into their golden years.
Fidelity polled several hundred faculty members between the ages of 49 and 67, and nearly 75% said they planned to retire after age 65. While 65% of those planning to delay said they were motivated by financial reasons, such as maximizing Social Security payments or hanging onto health insurance, more than 80% plan to stay for professional reasons.
"If I go several days without teaching, I long for it," said 71-year-old writing professor Donald Gallehr. "I miss my students. I wish I was in the classroom."
But many of these professors are holding onto coveted - and shrinking - tenure-track spots, which usually guarantee lifetime job security. Tenured and tenure-track professors made up about a quarter of instructors in 2011, compared to nearly 40% of instructors in 1989 and close to 50% in 1975, according to the American Association of University Professors.