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  • Tom Boyd

Why Baby Boomers are Waiting to Retire

Gallop reports that nearly half of all Baby Boomers still working state they do not expect to retire until they are 66 years of age or even older, despite the average United States retirement age being 61. This statistic includes one in ten who claim they will NEVER retire. While some would blame an uncertain economy and more financial responsibility for contributing to this rise in retirement age, there are several factors that are keeping Baby Boomers from leaving the workforce.

Financial Preparedness – Any plans Baby Boomers had to retire were put on hold when the economy took a turn for the worse in 2008-2009. Economic uncertainty put fear into this generation, causing them to continue in the workforce for longer than they intended. At the top of this list are those who did not prepare themselves financial for retirement years. Combining poor planning and an uncertain economy made many question if they were ready to retire.

Health Care and Insurance – According to an Ameriprise Executive Vice President, one of the top concerns of retirement among Baby Boomers is their health care costs. When the Affordable Care Act went into effect, there was a fear that it would cause a drain on the U.S. economy. This drain could leave retirees with fewer options and less comprehensive choices for care. A lack of understanding Medicare benefits and what retirees are entitled to under this plan, also caused concern for this generation.

Keeping the Mind Sharp – Research shows that keeping the mind active could help to stave off some neurological disorders, including Alzheimer’s. Going to work and completing projects gives this generation a sense of purpose and keeps them thinking. Many that DO decide to retire after 30 years with an organization, do so only to take up freelance or part-time work in an area of interest to them. While some continue working out of necessity, many continue because they love it.

While there are several reasons why Baby Boomers continue to work out of necessity, we need to realize that many work because they want to, and they can. This generation continues to be a valuable asset to the organizations they work for by mentoring the Millennials that are currently entering the workforce. While Millennials may be more technologically proficient, they certainly will not have witnessed the various trends in business that Boomers have experienced. Utilizing a mentoring system can help both generations feel necessary and successful within a company.

Interestingly enough, Millennials are more open than other age groups to accept mentoring opportunities within your organization! Consider the implications, and look for opportunities like these to engage your more mature work force to provide meaningful relationships between Baby Boomers and those who can learn from their life experience.

Tom Zeleny, Aspen Associates,

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