Boomers take note. The cookie-cutter view of retirement is itself being retired, say financial services experts.
Panels, surveys and executive predictions, which include The Hartford, Merrill Lynch and ING Reinsurance to name just a few, say that boomers’ retirement will be flexible and, for many, will include work in the mix of options that will be drawn upon.
A U.S. Census Bureau study, “65+ in the United States: 2005,” seems to support these predictions. It found that labor force participation rates between 1980 and 2003 grew for men and women in both the 65 to 69 and the 70 to 74 age groups.
The census report says there will be more of a transition to retirement bridged by part-time employment and nontraditional work. “Bridge jobs are becoming a more frequent part of the retirement process. Late-life work patterns take many forms, from a reduction in working hours to self-employment to reverse retirement.”
The reasons for returning to work vary from the practical to the recreational.
The report’s findings are echoed by a growing number of financial services professionals.
Mike Emerson, CEO of ING Re, Minneapolis, notes a combination of events including a shortage of skilled workers and the strain placed on traditional safety nets such as Social Security that will encourage boomers in the future to work beyond what have traditionally been retirement years.
Reinsurers, he says, will be called on to help develop employee benefits that meet the need for more flexibility. That flexibility will include more cyclical work that leaves time for leisure, he adds.
“Do you want fries with that?” is not going to be a phrase that a highly educated boomer work force will utter as it explores work beyond retirement, says Maureen Mohyde, director of corporate gerontology with The Hartford.
The reasons are varied but include better health, a younger attitude and a labor shortage, she says. She cites a recent survey of 65- to 75-year-olds taken by the National Council on Aging that found roughly half of respondents thought of themselves as middle-aged or young.
And, in spite of the globalization of the work force, Mohyde says that starting about 2010, there will be a labor shortage.