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Seniors Don’t Want to Retire Anymore. Here’s Why and How to Help


Retirement can be a dream for one and a nightmare for another. People treat retirement differently, depending on their requirements and circumstances. While some feel retirement is the time to pack up bags and travel or commit to hobbies they have long paused for, others feel retirement is not the right option.

There may be various reasons behind pushing away retirement: I need the money, I love what I am doing, I can’t imagine myself not doing anything, etc. The recent trend indicates that most seniors are reluctant to retire, and some decide to stay on course past retirement, while others choose alternative careers.

According to a survey by the American Advisors Group (AAG), 46% of seniors (60-70 years) had plans to work part-time jobs during retirement. 18% said they wish to work after passing the age, a rise of 8% from a 2019 survey. 12% of the respondents said they have no plans of stopping full-time work, an increase of 6% from 2019.

Although extending your retirement period or not wanting to retire may have their reasons justified, it may create a tricky situation for the newer generation. As a result of the baby boomers’ late retirement, the next generations may see a shortage of career growth, employment options, etc.

Why are most seniors reluctant to retire?

Some of the reasons why most seniors are reluctant to retire may include a vast number of reasons. People are in much better shape than previous generations and live longer. Some feel they will become bored at home or even doing their activities. Many still want to contribute in some way to society.

Did the pandemic change retirement plans?

Due to the pandemic, many seniors are rethinking their retirement plans. The pandemic has given many people the experience of their retirement days, and many found it boring and meaningless.

Many realized they loved their job and found meaning in what they did. To them, quitting their job to sit at home was not meant for them. Many also realized they might not have enough saved to survive such uncertainty.

Support family and maintain a standard of living.

First, the pandemic and then inflation dipped almost every bank account. Many seniors are draining their savings or depending on their paychecks to stay on track. In addition, about 50% are using up their retirement savings to support their children.

Some seniors are turning their back to retirement to support and maintain their standard of living. They believe they should continue to work to ensure that they have enough financial capacity and the freedom to spend their retirement days as they had hoped.

Debt and broken savings account.

Finances are a significant aspect for almost everybody when considering retirement. The recession has dramatically affected retirees and soon-to-be retirees, reducing their retirement accounts and property value. Most are more concerned about their medical and long-term care costs than their daily expenses.

The most current data shows that Baby Boomers and Gen Xers carry high amounts of non-mortgage debts. The credit card debt alone for Baby Boomers stands at $6,043 and $7,155 for Gen X.

On the contrary, Millennials’ credit card debt balance stands relatively low, at $ 4,322. Not considering the advantages of various financial tools, like debt consolidation, can be why seniors are comparatively behind with a higher debt balance. As a result, they need to continue working to improve their finance.

Increased life span.

Another possible reason for delayed retirement is the increased life span of Americans. A recent survey implies that the average life expectancy of Americans has risen to 78.9 years in 2020 from 39.4 in 1960.

With the rise in life expectancy, an average 60-year-old can expect to live for 15 to 20 years. Back in time, it was easy for retirees to survive with pensions or continue work till they died. However, most view 20 years as a long time to sit around doing nothing and stay using savings. Also, you need to support yourself with healthier health and an increased life span.

How seniors’ late retirement is affecting the next generations?

Although seniors may have their reasons justified with the best interests in mind, late or no retirement can bring various setbacks for the economy, companies, and especially for the next generations. Some of the setbacks are:

Difficulty moving up the career ladder.

While seniors are putting off their retirement plans, the next generation may find it difficult to climb the career ladder. Moving up to the middle and higher position can be difficult if there are no vacant positions. Various surveys show that most employees view career growth opportunities as one of the top factors in employment.

As a result, most younger workers are switching jobs hoping to seek higher positions and increased pay. Ultimately, retaining competent employees is increasingly difficult for companies, which may sometimes harm the business.

With the younger workers switching to seek higher positions and seniors not ready to quit, the next generation is trapped in the middle, without many scopes for promotions or increments.

Unable to make enough money.

The pervasiveness of senior workers in the workforce also affects the economy. With seniors blocking the path for the next generation, their scope of promotions and making more money is limited.

Result: they are not being able to support or contribute to the economy. Also, they are hardly making enough for themselves. Low savings and high debt amounts include their list of concerns. The situation raises concern for the next generation to rethink their retirement plans.

In addition, with the aging workforce, overall productivity also gets tampered since most are hesitant to adopt new technologies.

What can be done to prevent the next generation from facing the same problems?

There are possibilities for the next generation to succumb to these situations and delay or rethink their retirement days too. However, some steps can be helpful to prevent the next generation from facing the same problems.

Make saving for retirement a priority and strategize for it.

It is a common situation that people don’t often plan for retirement until they are halfway nearing their retirement period. There may be various reasons people don’t start saving for retirement earlier in their careers. Examples may include having debts, not having a fat enough paycheck, family responsibilities, etc.

However, it is necessary to understand the importance of saving for retirement before you can see it coming. When you start to save or invest for retirement while you still have a long way to go, you are allowing yourself to build a more considerable fortune for retirement over time.

Build a side cushion to let your retirement account grow.

Another common mistake people make when planning to allocate funds for their retirement is, overlooking the importance of an emergency fund. Increasing your retirement savings accounts is of little use if you have to tap into those accounts in times of dire need.

Building an emergency fund acts as a side cushion for your savings account. Ideally, a side cushion or emergency fund should be able to suffice for all your expenses for a minimum of six months.

It can be helpful to support you in times of uncertainty like the pandemic, loss of job, an accident, etc. You can confidently contribute to your retirement accounts when you have an emergency fund that can support you with expenses for six to twelve months.

You will know that you can let your cushion grow without fear of the need to break into your saving for an unfortunate event before retirement.

Look for ways to pay off debts and handle finances efficiently.

Handling your finances is as essential as having savings for retirement. Financial habits like overspending, paying off your bills late, paying bank fees like overdraft charges, taking out loans, etc., are all examples of poor financial management. When you handle your finances efficiently, you can strengthen your financial grounds with an enormous nest egg.

In addition, it is good to pay off your debts at the earliest possible time instead of paying the minimum amounts and carrying the balance over. Again, taking advantage of the financial tools available to you can be helpful in getting rid of your debts faster.

Financial instruments like balance transfer and debt consolidation are some options you can use to get debt free quickly. Ideally, you should always begin repaying the debt that carries the highest interest rate.

For example, credit card debts usually have high interest, and paying the minimum monthly amount can result in more interest in the long run. Instead, when you decide to consolidate debt, you can obtain a lower interest on the debt, and paying off the balance can become more accessible and faster.

Look for volunteering or part-time jobs to stay engaged.

While more and more seniors wish to continue working for the love of what they do, some seniors have a different reason. They choose to continue working because they want to stay engaged. With an increased life span and good health conditions, people view 20 years as too long for hobbies or to sit around doing nothing. Hence they prefer to stick to their current job for as long as possible.

Instead, it is an excellent time to volunteer for a cause or take up some part-time jobs that can allow free time while also keeping busy for some time with work.

Look for meaningful jobs like mentoring or training.

Reportedly, many seniors want to stay on the field because they love their work. In other words, they love their jobs and wish to continue working for as long as possible. Unarguably, seniors bring to the table years of experience, soft skills, and the capability to work calmly under pressure. They are treasured for the expertise and patience that the newer generations lack.

Hence they can do so meaningfully by imparting their knowledge and experience to the next generation. Creating a working environment with flexible working hours, where seniors can train or mentor their juniors, can benefit all.

Seniors can continue their job while the next generations can learn from them without feeling trapped. The company can get the best from the highly skilled multi-generational set of employees.

Bringing Changes in Working Culture

With many seniors refusing to quit, it may be time to change the work culture. It can be helpful to split C-level jobs into two. This strategy will allow the next generation to perform duties and responsibilities. It gives them a half-promotion, and they will be motivated to stay in the company.

In addition, companies may also consider shifting from the traditional corporate hierarchy to a horizontal hierarchy. This shift in hierarchical structure can motivate employees to work as team members and swap through different positions.

As a result, employees with more skills can select from various career ladders.

Final Thoughts

Seniors wanting to retire and spend the rest of their lives in tranquility is common. Some seniors are waiting to embrace their retirement days, which has been a commonly anticipated scenario for a long time.

However, nowadays, it is not unusual for seniors to delay their retirement until they enter their 70s or 80s. The Baby Boomers and some Gen Xers and Millennials have a similar perspective, and some may believe they should never retire at all.

You may hear various reasons behind this, from needing finances to flow in, loving what they do, or just needing to stay engaged through their life. An additional factor here is life expectancy.

With the advancements in medical treatment and an increased life expectancy, seniors can expect to live longer and healthier than their previous generations.

On the contrary, delayed retirement in one generation can bring unfavorable situations for the next generation. These situations can be averted by bringing in some changes. For example, seniors who wish to work because they want to be occupied or feel retirement is not the ideal place for them can take up volunteering or some part-time job.

On the other hand, seniors who want to continue working in their field because they love what they do can take up training or mentoring the newer generations. Splitting C-level jobs into two and shifting the hierarchical structure from traditional to horizontal are beneficial strategies companies can adopt to retain employees and boost productivity.

Also, it is necessary to begin preparing or saving for retirement much before you near your retirement period. Analyzing and responsibly managing your finances can help you build a stronger financial future. In addition, creating a side cushion to secure your savings and support you in times of need is vital for a promising future.

Published First on Due. Read Here.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Anna Shvets; Pexels; Thank you!

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