In our ever-changing world our attitudes can be quite different that those of years ago. My parents’ generation looked forward to retirement, and the chance to lay back and relax after a lifetime of hard work. As now, it was the same then, that many did not enjoy their work, but rather it was a means of survival. So, do baby boomers want retirement?
Of course each person’s individual case is different depending on interests, health, and financial condition. But let’s explore this subject a bit, and then I would love to have your opinions on this as well.
Ever Changing Landscape
While many people in the baby boomer category have already retired or are contemplating it, there are many who want to continue to work. Some may find it necessary to work for financial reasons, while others just want to keep busy or they simply love their job or profession.
There was a study done earlier this year that many baby boomers in Canada want to continue to work at and beyond their retirement age, but many companies do not offer that option. If you want to check this out further, this was a survey conducted by the Harris Poll, and was commissioned by Express Employment Professionals.
Many of these baby boomers would love a semi-retirement situation, and it doesn’t make sense that these Canadian companies are not open to this, given the fact that there is a shortage of working age folks in Canada. In this survey many of these baby boomers, about forty (40%) plan to retire later even if they need to find employment elsewhere, because of lack of savings or they just want to continue to work.
For these people, continuing to work on a full-time or semi-retired basis makes sense, and it is unfortunate that businesses and the government are not offering this option to them given the work shortage. Once again in our most interesting world in which we live, common sense seems to not be part of the equation.
Many of these folks would love flexible or reduced work schedules, or even transition into a consulting role. Unfortunately, only thirty (30%) percent of these employers offer this option of semi-retirement, and only thirty-six (36%) of these companies have ever rehired a former employee who has retired.
Thirty-nine (39%) percent of baby boomers who plan to retire later that retirement age indicate lack of adequate savings, some unexpected expenses, and just the desire to keep working. So transitioning to retirement is definitely a challenge for many.
While the exact percentages will vary by country, there is definitely an increasing trend to continue working past the age of retirement for some of the reasons stated above.
Regardless of what generation you are from, Baby Boomers — Gen X — Millennials — Gen Z, there are always people who desire to retire at the earliest age possible. Freedom to manage one’s own time is a big motivator regardless of age.
As the underlying theme of this website states, “Why Retire when you Love what you Do?”, it is quite possible to have sufficient time and money while enjoying your job, profession, or business. Over the years, and even still today, the work I do in the human services/non-profit area is not work but what I call “being fully engaged in life”.
No matter what the challenges have been in my work in this arena, I always saw it as a “process of life”, and engaging with others to make their lives a little easier. Now, I myself, cannot call this work. Work to me is doing a tedious job just for the money needed to pay bills and survive.
Now I can totally understand why people who have such jobs, and are completely tired, bored, and frustrated with them, want to retire. But when this is not the case, there are many who are not in a hurry to retire at all. Many who retire, and are even financially comfortable, feel lost without their regular routine.
Finding Suitable Alternatives
Now people in this baby boomer category (about 75 million folks), who were born between 1946 and 1964, all have their own unique circumstances to address. But the important thing to remember is that no matter the circumstances, there are solutions.
Now for those with serious health challenges, the majority of their time is being spent addressing these issues in order to stabilize and regain their health. As we all learn at some point if we were not previously aware, health is our most valued possession. With good health figuring out this other stuff is a walk in the park. It is still challenging, but we have the strength and energy to get things done.
With a large amount of people with insufficient savings, the gap is wide between financial ability and desired lifestyle. Many people have been forced into hard decisions, such as support from family members, creating a multi-generational housing arrangement, shared transportation, and a change in habits in terms of lower spending, more borrowing, downsizing, and cost-cutting wherever possible.
Now as I had previously mentioned above about how companies and government agencies are reluctant to rehire or offer semi-retirement options to baby boomers, there are many companies and government entities which do. The reason is not only an employee shortage, but the recognition of how knowledgeable and well-informed the people of this generation are. These companies are making available sponsored retirement and semi-retirement options.
This involves at times providing a group of employees for part-time work at a discounted rate. The employers get the help they need, and the employees are rewarded both financially and psychologically by knowing they are still wanted. The worse thing psychologically is retiring with low resources and no clear purpose. This can be a factor of why many pass away shortly after retirement.
Creating these type of employment options for people at retirement age is setting a positive stage for those generations following the baby boomers. As companies recognize the importance of creating low-cost benefit programs to prepare people for retirement, more employees will be motivated to join and stay with companies which care for their employees.
It is never too early to plan for retirement, as many who have reached or about to reach this age will attest. By providing education to employees on how to plan various aspects of their retirement including savings, and the best ways to spend, borrow, and invest throughout the years, creates better current employees and a great example for future employees.
Summing Things Up
Again I must emphasize that within the baby boomer generation everyone’s circumstances are unique, but there are some very specific trends which I have outlined. Taking an honest assessment of your current situation, whatever it is, will provide a starting point to make any desired improvements.
It all comes back to realizing that any changes we are going to make starts right now with the first step. Then we proceed from there. This can be so emotional and overwhelming that it is critical that we get some help and support when needed in order to make the desired progress.
With the changing relationships between employers and employees in terms of consulting and temporary contracts (gigs), no one really knows the meaning of retirement anymore. And this can be both good and bad. The baby boomers are like the guinea pigs for other generations who will follow.
That magic moment when you retire completely seems to be gone forever. Whether it is a blend of volunteer work with traditional employment, or some sort of partial employment with shorter hours and reduced responsibilities, more companies are offering retired folks some alternatives.
Also in some industries these retiring folks are not easy to replace. Losing talent in mining, manufacturing, and non-profit sectors is a major concern for these organizations. Finding employees with similar knowledge and skills is not easy for employers in these sectors.
Of course in some areas technology will and already has replaced these job functions. Robotics and artificial intelligence plays a major part in this. But passing on your knowledge to computer programs and machines is not feasible in all areas of industry.
What is most important to realize is whether we as baby boomers are ready to retire or not, there are always options available for those willing to do a little research to discover exactly what is going on, and what opportunities exist. We all have skills and abilities which will never be outdated, and which can always bring value to others, as long as we are flexible and willing to adapt.
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May your retirement be filled with Adventure & Joy,