Baby Boomers have been hitting our official retirement age of 65 for the past few years. Along the way, a funny thing has begun to happen. Less people are actually retiring. The trend started a few years ago and I wouldn’t be surprised if it continues and even accelerates over the next several years.
There are lots of reasons why this is happening. Here are some of the reasons I like.
Baby Boomers can’t afford to retire
We’ve heard a fair amount of this from many different news outlets. For years we’ve read about the terrible savings rates Americans have had. In fact, the national savings rate went below zero for a period of time. As the saying goes, “our actions are now coming home to roost.” Many baby boomers can’t afford to retire so they continue working.
Baby Boomers don’t want to retire
Some of the comments we hear from clients are things like “retire to what”. The idea for many people moving towards and through 65 is why retire; I enjoy what I’m doing now.
Baby Boomers are often the most productive part of a work force. Having them stick around a little longer is a good thing. (At least in my opinion.) With many people looking at a life span of 85 years or longer, twenty years of retirement and playing golf is a long time.
Baby Boomers don’t know what to do next
For some people moving towards 65 retirement is a scary thought. They’ve seen their friends retire and then become a non-person to those they used to work with. Retiring is just plain scary and many Baby Boomers don’t want to deal with things that are scary.
In addition, many people get their identity from who they are at work. For those who retire, that identity just might disappear.
Employers might not want people to retire
This is part of the above issues. Employers are terrified of their most productive people retiring. They aren’t happy with who’s coming behind and are afraid that productivity and profitability will suffer.
Although we have a high unemployment rate right now, many of the unemployed aren’t trained for work in today’s companies. Those who are heading towards retirement are often the most highly trained and the most difficult to replace. Employers don’t want to lose that level of expertise.