Baby boomers and younger workers have a thing or two to learn from current retirees.
Will most baby boomers truly retire? The old mainstays of golf, grandkids and travel haven’t been enough
to satisfy many retirees from previous generations. With the great amounts of energy and success that
exist within the baby boomer generation, retirement isn’t likely to sustain their attention much longer than
it did their parents’.
If the current generation of retirees is any indication, baby boomers and younger workers alike have a
thing or two to learn from their older counterparts. A 2006 Putnam Investments study showed that about a
third of America’s more than 20 million retirees returned to work for at least 15 hours a week, most of
them after less than a year in retirement. Two-thirds said they do so because they wanted to, not
because they needed to financially.
The return to work may signal a problem that most retirees don’t anticipate: having something fulfilling to
do. The keyword is fulfilling, and it’s the driving force behind a return to work. Of course, the added
income and the potential health insurance benefits don’t hurt either. The phenomenon has become so
recognized that In areas with large and increasing populations of retirees, like Arizona, many employers
are catering to the retired crowd. Certain companies offer specific work opportunities crafted for retired
people. In Tempe, Ariz., Wells Fargo has a special processing center that hires mostly retirees, whom
they have nicknamed “Silver Bullets.”
The Putnam study didn’t focus just on work after retirement. It also emphasized several key reminders for
younger workers. Even though the current generation of retirees is relatively financially stable, they still
have concerns about running out of money, and they’re worried younger people will do the same. They
emphasized starting retirement savings early, developing a retirement plan and saving as much as you
can both through your workplace program and on your own.
No one expects the baby boomer generation to be content with life in retirement, which is why planning
post-retirement activities, both work and play, is so important. And it’s just as important for younger
workers to plan for such activities too. No matter your age, informing your financial professional of your
desire to work and your hobbies and interests will make your retirement plan that much more complete.
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