In terms of population, Boomers are not only more numerous than previous generations, and they not only have higher expectations for life—record numbers are opening businesses or engaging in adventure travel—but they are also likely to live longer than their parents and grandparents.
All of these factors blend together to create a near-perfect storm of possibility.
With an astounding number of Boomers turning 65 each day, it’s not at all surprising that the very definition of what people enjoy doing once they mature has changed.
How has the wealth, health and high expectations of Boomers altered our perspective on aging?
Here are three modern trends that are specific to the work and retirement lives of Boomers:
Trend #1: Retired Boomers are working longer.
“According to the Bureau of Labor, in the last 20 years, the percentage of people working who are between the ages of 62 and 67 increased from around 45 to 56 percent for men, and from around 33 to 45 percent for women. This means that roughly half of all Americans of retirement age are still engaged in some form of employment.”
When queried as to why, Boomers gave the following reasons:
- They needed the income. Many didn’t have the savings needed to “retire” from working.
- They wanted to stay active.
- They appreciated the extra income.
- They were very interested in teaching younger workers the lessons that they’ve learned throughout their lives.
Trend #2: Boomers are starting second businesses.
“Millennial’s are the driving force behind entrepreneurship in America.”
The media’s message that only ingenious 20-something entrepreneurs are changing the world, leaving older Americans in their wakes, is absolutely incorrect. The largest generation of entrepreneurs in America is comprised of Boomers. In fact, Boomers are TWICE as likely to launch a new business as their younger peers.
Why are Boomers starting new companies?
- There are many reasons, but in response personally I have to say that a large number of us need to supplement our income, and what better way to redefine the workforce than to work for ourselves in a business we are passionate about. I started an online copywriting business out of my house. Start-up costs were minimal, and everything else was billed to “my time.”
- Boomers seem to have more money than any generation in history. Those who have prepared and saved can afford to start a new enterprise with overhead costs.
- They are living longer, healthier lives.
- Boomers have both real world and professional experience.
- Boomers’ maturity means they are likely to have a better understanding of themselves, and the world around them (i.e. they know the marketplace).
But does any of that translate to success? Apparently so. According to a Kaufmann Foundation study, Boomers are 35 percent more likely to found a successful business (one that they will still be managing after 3 years) than millennial’s.
Trend #3: Many Boomers want to work part time.
It’s stated that 61% of retired Boomers who work do so at a part-time job, even though 60 percent of those respondents say they don’t need the money, or are working for reasons other than income.
Why are Boomers working part time?
There are dozens of websites devoted to retirees looking for part-time work. The reasons are plentiful, but aren’t merely a function of supporting retirees. Employers love part-time Boomer workers. It seems they value the accountability of mature people. In a recent survey, retirees were considered “more honest and dependable” than their younger counterparts. The fact is, according to the website, Psychology Central, “that not only are older workers more reliable, but while energy and some cognitive functions naturally decrease with time, older workers are more consistent and more focused employees.”
Growing up, your image of what your 50’s and 60’s would someday look like may have been a clichéd, media-driven point of view, one where a couple sat sipping tea on a deck overlooking the sea. That still exists…well, maybe only while on vacation. The new reality is that Boomers are active and they intend to stay that way.
So, join the dialogue. How did you start your “retirement?” This is a great way to share your story with our Community.
As always, I am…a working Boomer Explorer.