Baby Boomers just can’t seem to quit … working, that is. It’s not that they can’t afford to retire — it’s just that they’re finding out it’s not all it’s cracked up to be:
Welcome to the land of the un-retired — folks who thought they were leaving the work world only to return because they sorely missed something about it, besides the money. These people in their 50s through 80s retired on pensions or savings — or both — but ultimately woke up to the fact there’s more to life than watching Florida sunsets.
This has some interesting implications for the generation that’s “supposed” to retire next. That would be us, in case there was some suspense there.
Work: The NeverEnding Story
I’m guessing that our reaction to retirement will end up similar to what the Boomers are currently paving the way for. The difference being that many of us might not have a choice but to keep working due to a lack of retirement savings.
But here’s the kicker — even though Gen X has already graduated to 51% of executive positions, it might stall from here. Why? Because your Boomer boss may refuse to leave, or an elder executive may do an encore that nukes your promotion.
This “un-retirement” trend continues to build, according to a 2017 Rand Corp. study showing that 39 percent of Americans 65 and older who are currently employed had previously retired. And more than half of those 50 and older who are not working and not searching for work said they would work if the “right opportunity came along,” the study found.
No retirement and a dead-end job?
We’re a pragmatic bunch, so what’s the solution? Simply accept our fate and lead a life of quiet desperation for the rest of our days?
Or, perhaps we can begin to redefine what we’re working for. Instead of striving to quit working, we can strive to quit settling.
That way, even if we technically have to keep working, we’re engaging in our personal version of the life-extending concept of ikagia — our reason to keep going.
I know I don’t want to retire, but I’ve got about 10 years left of working this hard. Then I want to work a few hours a day, sharing ideas with people like you, and making enough money to move on to the next part of the world my wife tells me I want to hang out in.
It’s doable. And it’s a lot less frustrating than golf.