“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind… it doesn’t matter.”
– Mark Twain
Much has been written, in this column and elsewhere, about how the failure to adequately plan and prepare for retirement will keep many baby boomers in the workforce longer than they wish. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the number of 55-and-older workers is expected to grow at an annual rate four times that of the overall labor force.
But, these data also reflect a significant number of boomers who — thanks to good health and education — will choose to work on a full or part-time basis long after they qualify for retirement. Retirement for them will be a long-term mix of work and leisure activities.
Labor force experts predict a shortage of workers in the future, based on the relatively small population of gen Xers following the baby boomer generation. Many boomers will be willing to help fill the void — but only on their terms. Part-time, job-share and consulting arrangements will become increasingly common. Already, 30 percent of all baby boomers are self-employed, according to INC.com.
This trend offers several implications for those of us in the financial services profession.
First, we must be prepared to adapt our counsel and support for clients as their changing employment presents new financial challenges. For example, a client who worked 30 years for a major corporation and then starts his own consulting business at age 55 may, for the first time, have to independently address insurance and investment needs that were previously handled through his employer. Even employees who move from full-time to part-time employment with the same company could face new decisions in managing benefits, balancing Social Security and private income, pension or retirement distributions, and other issues.
Second, your clients who are small-business owners might need you to help find ways to retain key employees by developing retirement incentives or long-term investment programs. Perhaps you can even serve as a valuable matchmaker for clients seeking that late-career transition and those who own companies looking for experienced help.
According to the U.S. Small Business Association, the owners of 60 percent of the nation’s 6 million small businesses are at least 45 years old. The business owners themselves may need counsel on succession planning, how to find a better work-life balance for themselves, or how to prepare the business for eventual sale.
Finally, could access to a willing supply of experienced workers help advance your business? Could a “retired” school teacher, fireman, construction worker or corporate executive help you expand your base and uncover clients from these unique professions who might be more willing to listen to a “peer?” The financial services profession could be a great option for baby boomers looking for a flexible, interesting and rewarding career to supplement their retirement income.