Retirement will mean different things to “Baby Boomers”
It’s no secret, and it has been talked about for years, that the population demographic known as the “Baby Boomers” – those born 1945 to 1964 – is rapidly becoming the largest and fastest growing sector of society in America.
Believe it or not, this can, and will, have significant impact on almost every aspect of our way of life – from employment to health care, politics…and everywhere in between.
Let’s take a look at how these “Boomers” will affect employment and the general workforce in this country. James P. Gorman, president of the Merrill Lynch Global Private Client Group, made these comments on The New Retirement Survey, “Baby Boomers fundamentally will reinvent retirement. With boomers living longer and remaining engaged and employed beyond age 65, many of the traditional financial assumptions regarding retirement need to be re-examined,” he said.
This means that those over the age of their mid-60s will continue to be actively engaged in the workforce, often times beginning a second or even third totally new career path.
Many Boomers have a uniquely different perspective on working long after 55. Thirty-seven percent of those interviewed in the aforementioned survey indicate that continued earnings is a very important part of the reason they intend to keep working, however, a formidable 67 percent assert that continued mental stimulation and challenge is what will motivate them to stay in the game longer.
Along with this interesting information, the survey discovered that 76 percent intend to keep working and earning in retirement. On average, they expect to “retire” from their current job/career at around age 64, and then launch into an entirely new job or career.
Wow – an entirely new career in your 60s.
What seems to be yet another powerful motivator to continue working into those “golden years” is the ever-present fear, and increasingly unpredictable nature of health care and the cost of maintaining one’s health. In fact, when confronted with those concerns that face every senior citizen, they are three times more worried about a major illness (48 percent), their ability to pay for health care (53 percent) or winding up in a nursing home (48 percent), than they do about dying (17 percent).
More and more Boomers are rejecting traditional retirement and planning to work – or cycle between work and leisure – which will leave them with more time to earn and save.
Interestingly, more and more Boomers are continuing to work in their present careers, or even embark upon new and different ones, for increasingly different reasons. Money is no longer the first and only reason for working, especially in this age group. Things like friendships, relationships, sense of work and productivity, the love of work and, believe it or not, fear of having insufficient funds to lead a reasonable post-career lifestyle.
I heard one “senior” say that it’s not as much about “retirement” as it is about “refinement” of one’s career and on-going goals for life in the later years – finding that correlation between work and leisure, between job and relationships, all the while trying desperately to keep as healthy as possible.
So, for someone who is hot on the trail of these Boomers, I take comfort in the knowledge that I just may work forever. Wait a minute, did I really say that?
Honestly, there is merit to working into the senior years, namely a benefit to the mind, body and soul, not to mention the wallet.