While the idea of the working retirement is relatively new, the speed at which it has caught on has ensured that it will forever change the landscape of work culture forever. When before the idea of retirement was a predetermined concept, professionals now have more control and more options for when, if ever, they walk away from their careers. The working retirement has been especially attractive to many professionals as it offers the best of both worlds. They can now continue working while enjoying a better work-life balance. But why does that lifestyle appeal to the boomer professional? What are they getting from this more flexible approach to, not only their career, but their retirement? Let’s take a look at some of the reasons the working retirement has been adopted by the baby boomers.
Concerns about retirement savings.
Despite all the talk of more freedom and flexibility in their career, it can’t be denied that the financial stability offered by a working retirement is very attractive. Many articles and think pieces have explored the rather concerning circumstances of the modern retiree and just what it takes to retire comfortably these days. While there is a substantial number of boomers who have no intentions of retiring by 65, there are also many who simply couldn’t afford to retire by that age. Studies also show that boomers are largely not properly preparing for their retirement, either miscalculating what savings are needed, not anticipated those unforeseen costs, or making the massive mistake of assuming they are adequately prepared. There are also those recently retired who decide they want to live a little larger during retirement, taking more trips and moving to the city.
Whatever the reason, many boomers find that their savings are just not going to cut it for their retirement plans or for living comfortably in retirement. The working retirement route allows them to begin exploring life outside work while remaining in good financial standings.
The professional mindset.
As we’ve already established, retirement just isn’t an interest for many boomers. It’s not a question of when they’ll be ready or how much money is needed to retire comfortably. These boomers simply don’t want to leave the work force. Retirement is generally looked at as this great milestone to reach when you can finally escape from the professional world. Though true for some, that idea has become somewhat outdated in the era of the “boomer retiree”. I know of many professionals who are reaching that traditional age of retirement and not even giving it a thought. They enjoy being a professional and have no plans to walk away from that for any reason. Sure, that doesn’t mean they’ll stick to the same job forever. We’ve seen that many are taking this stage of their professional life to pursue long-held passions, or strike out on their own endeavours, and some seek out part-time work just as a way to stay engaged. Regardless how their careers might change, their professional ambitions remain.
Fear of boredom.
Boomers are an active and adventurous group – therefore, it’s not surprising that an inactive retirement scares a lot of them. That’s not to say that nothing can be accomplished during retirement. Many people find great purpose in this stage of their life, through volunteer work, education or their own relationships. However, finding purpose in retirement is not always easy for everyone. There are those who have found their purpose through work, and they’ve always used their time outside of work for relaxation. But relaxing will only get you so far in retirement before you start looking for something to spend your time on. For these professional, the working retirement is ideal. They don’t have to face that idea of an empty retirement, they are able to continue pursuing their purpose through work, and are still able to relax a little more.
It’s all about balance.
Of course, one of the most appealing aspects of the working retirement, and likely why so many are pursuing this path, is the balance it offers. It isn’t that boomer professionals are only interested in working, quite the opposite. As they get older, they want to be able to spend more time with other aspects of their life, but they don’t want to have to give up their careers in order to achieve that. Studies have show that work-life balance has become one of the highest priorities for professionals, even higher than salary. Not too long ago, career was a finite thing that begins then ends, and then your retirement begins as a new stage. Boomers pushed back against this concept, questioning why it has to be one or the other. Why can’t you reach a stage in your career when it is balanced to the rest of your life? Boomers have found a way to make t work. In other words, boomers have taken on the working retirement concept for the simple reason that they can.
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