The younger generations are hoping for a mass retirement in the next few years as Baby Boomers leave the work force, opening advancement opportunities for younger people. There’s a problem. The mass retirement may never happen. That article includes some generalizations about those approaching 60 years old and their attitudes towards retirement, and includes a few examples to illustrate the point.
Here are some reasons would-be retirees may be staying on the job:
* They like working. Labor is less manual than it used to be. Instead of back-breaking factory work, jobs call from wrist-straining emailing.
* They need purpose. Working for many people provides a sense of worth to the world.
* They want to remain mentally active. Some don’t like the idea of resting their brain.
* They need the money. They were counting on pensions that disappeared and haven’t had enough time to build up 401(k)s or similar plans. If they had, they may have been hit hard in the bear market of 2000-2001.
Here are some statistics about the reasons given for working longer:
[W]hen asked what will keep them in the work force, “money” wasn’t the main motivation reported in a 2006 Merrill Lynch survey of boomers. The more common reasons cited by those closest to the traditional retirement age were that work “will keep me mentally active,” (66 percent) and “will keep my physically active” (54 percent.) Money came in third, cited by 49 percent.
On a personal note, my parents are both approaching 60 years old. (Sorry to spill the beans if you happen to be reading this someday, Mom and Dad.) They’re both “thinking” about retirement, but its more of a wistful imagination rather than final preparation.