Retiring Baby Boomers Redefine Retirement
For some, retirement is a time to step off the treadmill and reflect. However, for retiring baby boomers it is an opportunity to reinvent themselves with regard to work and community relationships. Retiring baby boomers now have options that generations before them haven't had. Since the 55-64 age group is the fastest growing segment of the U.S. workforce, retiring baby boomers have the collective power to explore alternatives to traditional retirement—and they are!
Rather than slowing down or settling in to a life of leisure, retiring baby boomers are bringing renewed energy to new pursuits. The ABA Journal reports that a majority of retiring baby boomers intend to keep working and earning during retirement. Rather than retiring altogether, many instead desire new work that combines income with meaning and social impact.
Mark Miller, author of "Retire Smart," says that due to the recent economic recession, this reinvention of baby boomers retirement has recently changed from what was desirable, to what is imperative. After focusing heads down on building careers and raising families, retiring baby boomers are looking up and finding that there is no road map for what lies ahead. They are facing limits, tempering ambition and reaching back to youthful ideals and values, while moving toward a new phase in their life.
More Multi-Generational Families
"The Waltons are back," said Paul Taylor, executive vice president of the Pew Research Center. Thanks to delayed marriage, recession-induced job losses and foreclosures, many retiring baby boomers have been forced to double-up under the roofs of their offspring.
The New York Times also chimed in and reported an analysis of the Census Bureau figures that supports the extended family is making a comeback. According to the analysis, multi-generational families, which accounted for 25 percent of the population in 1840 but only 12 percent by 1980, inched up to 16 percent in 2008. At the same time, the share of retiring baby boomers in multi-generational families, which plummeted to 17 percent in 1980 from 57 percent in 1900, rose to 20 percent.
The shift appears to have been accelerated by the recession. In 2008, at the beginning of the recession, 2.6 million more Americans lived in a multi-generational household than did the year before.
Outreach to Communities
Recognizing the important role seniors serve, many communities around the nation are teaming up seniors and younger age school children together for mentoring-type programs. For example, Marion County, Florida, has launched several initiatives to involve seniors in elementary schools.
The St. Francis of Bellingham facility has also had success with its Inter-generational Program, which provides an opportunity for on-site preschoolers and residents to establish nurturing relationships through spontaneous interactions and a variety of planned activities. Activities range from hugs and songs to helping each other in art and baking projects.
Baby Boomers Retirement: Strive to Remain in the Workforce
According to a Pew Research Center study in late 2009, a majority of workers 65 and older say the main reason they continue to work is to feel useful and stay active and connected with others. But income also plays a role for nearly half of retiring baby boomers, as 27 percent report they want to work but also need income, and 17 percent say they work mainly because they need the money.
Organizations are being proactive in examining current and projected workforce demographics and developing plans for retaining and transferring critical knowledge within their multi-generational workforce, since this is critical to the success of many companies.
This is proving good for employers and retiring baby boomers. Employers are discovering that older workers have much more to offer in addition to their knowledge and experience. Results from the National Council of Aging Survey revealed 240 US employers perceived retiring baby boomers as dependable, adaptable and capable. Businesses, including Borders Group, found that stores with retiring baby boomers experienced lower turnover, better financial results and high employee job satisfaction.
In today's ever-changing and competitive landscape, where demand for talent is in short supply, investing in retaining older workers is proving to be a worthy knowledge management strategy. Some examples include:
- The AARP report on Retention Strategies, which spotlighted Deere & Company for introducing a self-nomination process for job openings and career movement and providing numerous opportunities for retiring baby boomers in special projects, task forces, and steering committees.
- Cornell University, ranked number one in AARP's 2009 Best Employers for Employees more than 50, offers their full-time and part-time baby boomers retiring opportunities from the university's tuition reimbursement program according to the American Association of Retired Persons, 2009.
- Abbott Laboratories, a large American health care company, allows retiring baby boomers to work for four days a week or take up to 25 extra days of holiday a year.
Avamere Family of Companies supports the work and community endeavors of seniors. Let us also help you or your loved one in staying active and involved during retirement. Check out our independent living for seniors options and our home care services.