“Can’t stop, won’t stop.” That seems to be the mantra for the tens of thousands of Baby Boomers “retiring” each day in America. Nearly 30% of retired Boomers are either currently employed or have been employed during retirement. Over 60% of those, say they are working because they want to, not because they have to. For a generation who has been at the grind for the past four to five decades, these men and women are facing their golden years unlike any generation before them due to a number of contributing factors such as:
- Longevity: They are living longer and healthier lives than generations before. This allows them the ability to continue to work effectively and productively contribute to their communities.
- Finances: Economics have changed and many cannot rely on the savings and pension plans that their parents had. Many have been hit hard with the roller coaster that is the American economy of the past decade or so, which has greatly diminished their traditional retirement plans such as 401ks and IRAs.
- Personal Reasons: There are many non-financial reasons Boomers continue to work which include to stay mentally alert, to remain physically active, to have a sense of purpose, and to stay socially connected to others.
Additionally, lower stress levels and the ability to maintain higher quality relationships are reported by employed retirees compared to non-working retirees, providing more incentive for Boomers to keep punching the clock.
The definition of the word “retire” in and of itself is somewhat misleading, which may explain why 10% of Boomers surveyed predicted that they will NEVER retire! When we think of someone as retired, we assume they no longer work. When a third of “retired” people do work, the term loses its meaning for all intents and purposes. Over the past 40+ years, this generation has proven themselves to be highly goal-oriented, dedicated and possess the utmost, impressive work ethic. These characteristics promote a sense of purpose for Boomers to work as long as they are able.
Just because a worker reaches “traditional” retirement age, it is not wise to count them out just yet. Employers can greatly benefit from having Boomers in the workplace. They bring with them experience, leadership, and dependability. They may also be open to working part-time or filling gaps as needed, making perfect interim managers. They have the knowledge and work (and life) experience to step into mentoring and training roles. Baby Boomers have always been well regarded as being team players and loyal to the company they represent, which is not always the case with younger generations.
In a perfect world, we will all have the capacity and financial means to “retire” at some point. Spend our days with loved ones. Maybe do some traveling, gardening, catch up on the “Honey Do” list. Volunteer. But in the meantime, the Baby Boomers are determined to show the rest of us that there will be no sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch for them any time soon.
You go, Boomers!
Written By: Angie Barnes, The Q Works Group