Baby Boomers Are Planning ‘Retirement Careers’

Traditional retirement is over, and many active adults are continuing careers into retirement.

Why move to a retirement community if you’re not retired?

Simply put, retirement communities are no longer just for retirees, that’s why. The term “retirement community” is really a misnomer for many age-restricted developments. Yes, many of the people who move to adult communities do so when they are nearing or at typical retirement ages, but if you talk to many of the people living in these communities, you will find that the idea of a typical retirement is not in the cards for their future.

‘Traditional’ Retirement is Over

A study conducted by Merrill Lynch in 2006 found some interesting facts regarding retirement, such as: 

  • 76 percent of baby boomers do not intend to participate in “traditional” retirement.
  • 71 percent of those surveyed plan to continue to work in some capacity, half of which have no intentions of quitting work.
  • Of those who plan to continue to work beyond retirement, the average “retirement career” is nine years; meaning their true retirement won’t come until over the age of 70.
  • Over 50 percent plan to change their line of work once they reach retirement age. Most notably, they are looking for more flexible work that allows them time to cycle between periods of work and leisure.
  • Those who are working a “retirement career” are more satisfied than those who are not working.

Boredom is Retiree’s Biggest Concern

With a generation that has brought about so many changes in American society, it is not surprising that baby boomers are throwing another curveball at the traditional retirement model. According to some pundits, many retirees are finding their lack of activity is causing boredom and lower self-worth.

Many retired people who saw themselves as key team members in their former jobs are now facing a void without a daily regimen to keep them physically and mentally active. Thus, the long-awaited retirement many dreamed about, sometimes brings about a sense of panic to find a new job, hobby or activity to assuage their feelings and esteem.

However, fear of boredom is not the only reasons keeping many baby boomers from retiring. Among other reasons noted in the Merrill Lynch Study are:

  • The need to stay mentally and physically active
  • Gaining control of debt and saving more
  • The need to pass on their valuable knowledge through activities and jobs such as teaching and consulting.

In addition, boomers are staying more fit and healthy, and no longer feel the need to retire for physical or health-related reasons. Combine that with the fact that today’s retiring generation is expected to live longer than any preceding generation, and it is no wonder that the average retirement age grows higher every year.

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