Why are Baby Boomers Really Delaying Retirement

Baby Boomers are at it again- changing the way we think about life. This time they’re upending the norm of how we think about retirement. Slowly but surely, Americans are changing their vision of what happens after 60 when it comes to working, careers, and money.

As a result, many older Americans are choosing to delay retirement.

Their reasons?

Not what you might expect. Whether it’s out of need or desire, baby boomers are changing the face of retirement by delaying it- as long as possible in many cases. Here are the main reasons why.

Common Reasons Older Adults Delay Retirement

Debt & Savings

It’s obvious that for many boomers, the when, how, and where factors of retirement are determined by money. The Great Recession caused some boomers to put thoughts of retiring on the back burner. But there’s another reason, too: debt.

The baby boomer generation faces a staggering amount of debt – five times that of previous generations, in fact. In the past 12 years, the debt of the average 67-year-old has gone up by an alarming 169%. Compare that to the average Gen-Xer’s debt over the same 12 years, which fell by 12%.

At the same time, the baby boomer generation is also behind in their savings when compared with previous generations. That leaves some boomers with little choice but to delay retirement, cut back on spending, or move to a region of the country that’s less expensive.

Job Enjoyment

Not everyone who chooses to keep working does it purely for the money. Some love their jobs so much they can’t seem to let go – so they don’t. Employment past the traditional retirement age is more common these days, and it’s partly due to the growing number of people who simply don’t want to disengage from the workplace.

They may reduce hours down from the traditional 40-hour workweek or they may switch careers for a “phase two”, but they continue working because they want to.

Living Longer

Since Americans are now living much longer, they’re placing higher expectations on retirement. Not willing to be relegated to the rocking chair, the mahjong table, or even the golf course, baby boomers retiring want purpose, comfort, and connection. They are seeking an active lifestyle that previous generations didn’t necessarily expect to enjoy in retirement.

But living longer means needing lots more money for retirement, especially when there are goals and expectations centered around the new boomer-style definition of retirement. So back to work they go, with many simply delaying their official retirement date.

Remaining Active

One thing people forget about having a job is that it keeps you connected to the world. It also provides opportunities for learning and interaction with professionals in your field. That keeps the brain healthy longer.

It may even ward off Alzheimer’s, according to a study performed in France that affirms what countless of other studies have found. Workers who put off retiring are less likely to develop dementia. Working is good for the brain, helping to keep seniors mentally sharp as they age.

Making a Contribution

Finally, a fulfilling job can help boomers feel like they’re making a contribution. That brings a certain sense of satisfaction and self-worth that’s hard to replace once you’re 100% retired.

Pushing back the date of your retirement can offer many benefits to boomers. Whether it’s out of necessity or by choice, working longer can translate to living better, aging successfully, and having more fun. It’s the next newest way the boomer generation is changing the way everyone looks at aging!

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