The Boomer Mindset: Work is Part of Retirement

For many demographers and social scientists, the long-awaited year has come and gone, almost. It was estimated that between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2011, more than 7,000 people would turn 65 years old every single day. Those numbers are astounding.

In AARP's 2010 survey of boomers turning 65 in 2011 finds this first wave of the boomer generation were generally satisfied with their lives and optimistic about the next third of life.  Financial security and improving their health were a few top concerns which affected their outlook about the future, and their retirement plans.

In a few respects, boomers turning 65 have age-related concerns, similar to their parents when they were 65 such as aging in place, but have found that aging often presents chronic health conditions and financial responsibilities that influence how they will live the last third of life. But in one very important respect, boomers turning 65 are different from their parents — the baby boom generation has redefined what retirement means. For instance, when their parents entered retirement, it was considered a time that might feature travel, relaxation and enjoyment but little work outside of an avocation.

Numerous surveys show that in contrast to the already-retired (some of them early boomers), folks are planning to work longer and retire later. And that’s on top of an increase in the average male retirement age, over the last 20 years, from 62 to 64, according to the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.

With longer life expectancies, rising medicals cost and the decline of traditional employer paid pensions, working longer is a necessity for those of us not smart enough to have founded or invested in Apple or Microsoft. In that regard, many Boomers plan to continue working part-time in retirement.

In fact, Boomers overall and many of those turning 65 consider work to be part of retirement, and a significant percentage say that they never will consider themselves retired. Many fear retiring and feel the need to have a sense of purpose-a connection to something greater and of giving back to society.

For the full report go to Approaching 65: AARP Survey

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