Why the Baby Boomer Generation is Waiting to Retire

The youngest of the Baby Boomer generation (those born from 1946-1964) are turning 51 this year and the oldest have already turned retirement age. However, the average age at which U.S. retirees say they retired, has risen steadily from 57 to 61 in the past two decades, showing that these Boomers aren’t as eager to retire as some would think.  This article looks at the reason why this generation is so hesitant to move out of the workforce.


Why the Baby Boomer Generation is Waiting to Retire


The average United States retirement age is 61 and the traditional age is 65, yet Gallop reports that nearly half of boomers still working say they don’t expect to retire until they are 66 or even older.  This number includes one in ten who say they will NEVER retire.  While some would speculate that an uncertain economy and more financial responsibility would contribute to this rise in retirement age, there are several factors that are keeping Baby Boomers from leaving the workforce.


Health Care and Insurance – According to Ameriprise executive vice president Pat O’Connell, one of the top concerns in retirement among Baby Boomers is their health care costs.  Many feel that the Affordable Care Act will be a drain on the U.S. economy, leaving them with fewer and less comprehensive choices for care.  There is also a concern with understanding Medicare and the benefits that retirees are entitled to under that plan.


Financial Preparedness – When the economy took a turn for the worst in 2008-2009, boomers that had any plans to retire in the near future, put those plans on hold.  Economic uncertainty put fear into this generation and caused them to hold on to the workforce for longer than they may have.  At the top of the list are those who didn’t plan as well for their retirement years, questioning if they were financially ready to retire.


Keeping the Mind Sharp – With Alzheimer’s and other neurological disorders plaguing the older population, many Baby Boomers refuse to retire because they want to keep their mind active.  Going to work and completing projects, gives them a sense of purpose and keeps them thinking.  Even some boomers that DO retire after 30 years in an organization, do so only to take up freelance or part time work in an area of interest to them.  While some feel the necessity to continue working, some work because they love it.


While there are several reasons why Baby Boomers continue to work out of necessity, there are several more reasons why they do it because they want to and they can. Boomers continue to be a valuable asset to organizations.  With Millennials entering the workforce, boomers can be useful in mentoring these young minds.  While millennials may be more technologically proficient, they certainly will not have witnessed the various trends in business that boomers have experienced.  Using a mentoring system can help both generations succeed within an organization.


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