“The so-called “Great Unretirement,” has been getting a lot of attention lately,
but this trend is far from being a new phenomenon.” Paul Hubbard III
By Paul Hubbard III
The Great Unretirement is far from being a novel phenomenon. In 2020, The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) did a study indicating that un-retiring has been quietly occurring for several decades. BLS researchers say they found no data pointing to an increase in the prevalence of retirees returning to work in recent years. The BLS report summarized its findings by suggesting that unretirement is simply part of a broader retirement process. Some older Americans ease off the gas pedal rather than screeching to a halt when they retire.
Many pre-retirees are deciding to retire in stages, reducing their hours, changing to different, perhaps less demanding careers, or testing out gig work or entrepreneurial endeavors. The days of slumping on the couch in front of your TV, waiting for your “rocking chair money” to arrive, are a thing of the past.
(* You can download the 2020 BLS study at https://www.bls.gov/osmr/research-papers/2020/pdf/ec200110.pdf.)
Could unretirement be different in 2022-2023?
As mentioned, the Great Unretirement itself is nothing new. However, what might be different this time is that more seniors may decide to re-enter the workforce out of necessity rather than out of choice. A recent survey conducted by one online hiring agency indicated that 1 out of 5 retirees seriously consider returning to work, citing economic factors as a primary concern.
Another reason for returning to work is the gap created when seniors leave the workforce two or three years before they’re eligible for Medicare. Seniors with exceptional medical benefits may choose to delay their retirement out of fear that they can’t afford private insurance to protect them until they turn 65. Others may re-enter the job market because they’ve been offered a position with better healthcare coverage that will help them close that gap.
I’m sure you know several people who retired for a few years, then got back into the working world out of boredom or the need for social interaction. Those reasons differ vastly from those re-entering because they’ve lost money in the stock market or because food and fuel costs have increased by double digits. I tend to believe that seniors re-entering their workplace in 2022-2023 do so mainly because they fear running out of savings before they die or they’re experiencing severe financial hardships caused by medical expenses.
If you are a pre-retiree or are recently retired, you should realize there are some benefits to re-entering the workforce, such as:
Working longer can improve your mental, physical, and emotional well-being. Many people fail to account for the impact of retirement on their physical, emotional, and mental health. For instance, some of us don’t consider that retirement might be isolated and lonely. Without adequate social interaction, boredom can easily take over and dull your senses. At the very least, working can give you more opportunities to make new friends, hear different stories and viewpoints, and get invitations to social gatherings and company events.
Working can also contribute to longevity. Even adults in poor health who continue working may find they live longer. Statistically, those who delay retirement have less chance of getting Alzheimer’s or other kinds of dementia. Work can sharpen your brain and help guard against memory loss and brain fatigue.
Working, even at a job you don’t particularly enjoy, does at least provide structure and routine. In the absence of such structure, some retirees report their previously healthy habits end up going by the wayside. The salads and apples they packed for their work lunches may be replaced by chips, cookies, and fast food consumed in front of the television. Some retirees report spikes in their weight due to poor eating habits and becoming less active. There’s also some value in the peer pressure from co-workers that keeps you in line regarding weight and exercise.
You may get more emotional support at work.
Depending on your job type, your workplace may be a source of comfort and reassurance as you age. As you experience the losses of your parents, spouse, or other loved ones, your co-workers can often help you navigate these emotional times. Workplace distractions may blunt the pain of loss and hardship and give you something to look forward to each day.
You could potentially improve your financial outlook. Various surveys conclude that the majority of seniors, nearly 70%, feel they do not have enough cash saved to enjoy a comfortable, less stressful retirement. For many, unfortunately, those fears are valid. The Great Recession of 2008 wiped out chunks of peoples’ retirement accounts, savings, and home equity. Most of those choosing to unretire or delay retirement say that making more money was the primary driver behind their decision. Women, in particular, seem eager to make up retirement savings shortfalls arising from them taking time off to care for their kids or elderly parents.
You have work and life experience that can benefit younger generations
No matter what their education levels or what type of jobs they are trained to do, older Americans have valuable work and life experience to pass along to others. Many retirees find mentoring younger people fulfilling and gratifying. They are often eager to share that knowledge with co-workers or in corporate training seminars.
Summing it up: Although multiple factors influence a person’s decision to return to work after retirement, unretirement in 2022-2023 has some obvious financial motivations due to a volatile marketplace and inflation.
Unretirement for some seniors is part of a more gradual transition that includes bridge employment to fill the gap years until Medicare eligibility or perhaps other “phased” retirement options. For others, unretiring is one way to quell fears that they might run out of money during retirement and have to rely on friends or family members for support.
Paul’s Perspectives: Choosing to return to the workplace after you’ve already retired is a highly personal, sometimes emotional decision.
However, consider this.
Do you think it’s better to return to work after retirement because you want to or because you worry you’ll run out of money? Since the quality of our lives is proportional to the number of choices we have, I bet you’d choose the former scenario.
What if there was some way to get slow, steady growth, protection of your principal, and market risk mitigation- all in a single safe money product? Would having a stream of income you can’t outlive contribute to your peace of mind when you stop working?
If you responded in the affirmative, then you Better Call Paul today to discover how to create that lifetime income and ensure you only have to return to work if you WANT TO.