In the next five years, over a quarter of the labor force will be 55 or older. Unfortunately, there’s a disconnect between what boomers want and what they might be able to get in a secondary career.
In a study called “New Expectations, New Rewards: Work in Retirement for Middle-Income Boomers,” the Bankers Life Center for a Secure Retirement surveyed more than 1,000 boomers with household income between $25,000 and $100,000 and less than $1 million in investable assets. A supplemental survey of nearly 2,300 middle-income boomers examined the percentage of retired boomers who are working.
About a third of retired boomers are working, and of those, 61% are doing it because they want to, not because they have to. About half of the unemployed retired boomers wish they could work; their health is the most common obstacle to working.
The study asked working retirees to give boomers advice about working in retirement, and the most common suggestion was to find something enjoyable. “Work in retirement can be the perfect time to explore a passion or interest that we were unable to pursue during our primary working career,” Scott Goldberg, president of Bankers Life, said in a statement. “Don’t feel limited by prior employers, industries or work experience. Look around and find the situation that balances your needs with your interests.”
However, some still-working boomers are in for an ugly surprise, according to the study.
Non-retired boomers might think they’ll pick up a job after they retire to stay active and engaged, but they have to remember their new employer is trying to run a business. If they expect to make as much as they did in their primary career — 26% said they wouldn’t take a pay cut — or to get special work arrangements — almost all of them said they would like some sort of arrangement, like flex time, telecommuting or job sharing — they’ve got another think coming.