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Boomers choose new careers for their next phase, survey reports

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Recent trends and headlines indicate boomers are not slowing down after retirement, and they express their desire to continue working, and to be active.

A newly released MetLife study addresses a new social movement wherein millions of baby boomers say they want to, or have actively pursued what are being called “encore careers.”

The study, “MetLife Foundation/Civic Ventures Encore Career Survey,” is the first of its kind in the U.S. The survey confirms and expands upon findings from the 2005 “MetLife Foundation/Civic Ventures New Face of Work Survey.”

The survey confirmed that between 5.3 and 8.4 million people ages 44 to 70 have found encore careers. And about half of those respondents who have not found an encore career indicate that they want to.

Where are boomers working during the next phase of their life? Most (30 percent) have found employment in education, followed by heath care (23 percent), government (16 percent), nonprofit organizations (13 percent) and for-profit businesses that serve a public good (9 percent).

Specifically, those who engage in encore careers do share some common characteristics. The survey revealed most (about 60 percent) are between the ages of 51 and 62; they are more likely to be female than male (56 percent); most come from professional or managerial careers (52 percent); and the majority resides in suburban areas (42 percent).

Among those who don’t already have an encore career, about half of respondents said they are interested in attaining one — this response stems mostly from younger boomers, age 44 to 50.

Why are boomers choosing to continue a career through retirement? The survey indicates primary motivations include a desire to “stay active, productive, challenged and learning.” Additionally, the survey reports, more than a third of those in encore careers and those interested in them cite practical needs for continuing income and health benefits.


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