Is it really retirement if you have to keep working?
In the post-Covid world, Americans have changed their lifestyles, careers, and futures.
One byproduct of the generational reorganization is the desire, or need, to continue working into retirement. Increasingly, more Americans approaching retirement are expecting to work during their “golden years.”
according to Allianz Life Insurance Company’s 2022 Retirement Risk Preparedness Study In North America, 59% of nearby retirees say they plan to work beyond the current Social Security retirement age; However, only 11% of current retirees have actually done so.
A purposeful life – and distrust of Social Security
Is the growing trend of working in retirement, especially full-time work, driven by need or want?
Financial experts say it’s a mix of both, with a dash of shifting realities thrown into the mix.
Baby boomers, currently aged between 58 and 76, know that they are facing a devastating wave of advanced products and services in the fields of medicine, science, fitness and wellness that are poised to increase life expectancy, not only gradually but exponentially, and into their lifetime. Unknown, said Chuck Underwood, owner of The Generational Imperative in Miamisburg, Ohio. “It’s simple – if you don’t know how long you might live, how can you say you have enough money to retire?”
Additionally, baby-boomers increasingly believe that Social Security may go bankrupt in another decade, making work a necessity. “With Americans distrusting and disgusted with Washington, D.C. officials, they don’t know if this safety net might evaporate,” Underwood said.
Social Security trust funds are currently expected to be depleted between 2032 and 2034. If — or likely — when that happens, “the tax revenue received will be sufficient to pay only about 78% of assessed benefits,” according to the Congressional Research Service.
Work ethic is key to retirement planning
A well-established life-long work ethic also influences the “work in retirement” trend.
Since their childhood, children born have been the ‘working generation’ and at the same time, ‘Make the world a better generation. Underwood added, “These two core values mean that Boomers want to wake up every day with a purpose.
Baby boomers also saw their parents retire as quickly as possible from manual, physically demanding occupations during America’s great industrial years.
Go to follow
“For these parents, retirement was seen as a reward that previous generations never enjoyed,” Underwood said. “But the Moms and Dads of the Boomers retired, lost their sense of purpose, grew up too quickly, and died. And so, for many baby boomers, full retirement is the sliding path to death.”
Apparently, corporate America is doing just fine with older Americans staying in the workforce. As usual, the numbers tell the story. “The generation behind baby boomers, Generation X, is unusually small at 58 million, compared to 80 million Boomers,” Underwood said. “The American workplace needs to retain employees”.
Additionally, “smart employers undergo management training to understand generation-specific workforce strategies and provide elderly employees with working conditions and perks that will keep them under the working cap.”
Facing the reality of money
Money is also important – especially not having it later in life.
If a professional has reached retirement age and has not accumulated enough retirement savings, that person will be left with only two options – continue working or accept a lower standard of living in retirement.
Robert R. said: Johnson, Professor of Finance at Creighton University’s Hyder School of Business: “There are no two good options.” There is a misconception among many Americans that Social Security will provide for their retirement. In addition, they deny the standard of living afforded them by relying on Social Security.”
Social Security typically replaces less than 40% of the average retiree’s income. More than 90% of beneficiaries receive less than $2,500 per month, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
However, Johnson said the impending demise of Social Security has been greatly exaggerated.
He noted that “besides being political suicide, abolishing Social Security is incompatible with the value system in the United States.” “Many other government-funded pre-Social Security programs will be canceled or curtailed.”
However, “we are in an incredibly polarized political environment right now and many of the founding principles we came to adopt seem to be called into question.”
Consequently, the elderly are increasingly forced to work into retirement by force, due to the uncertain economy, the lack of sufficient savings, and due to lifestyle problems after the pandemic.
“Actually, I think it’s a combination of all of those factors,” Johnson said.