Your Workforce by Roger Herman

No More Retirement

Until recently, most people have invested their working lives with the objective and expectation of retirement in their fifties or sixties. The dream had been to spend time traveling the world, playing with grandchildren, or just doing little chores around the house. No more working for someone else; all your needs would be paid for with the money saved for retirement years.

A number of factors suggest that we are seeing the end of this kind a retirement picture. Instead, people will continue to work, at least part-time, for many more years. Relatively few people will enjoy full retirement, but many will find new ways to enjoy partial retirement - a different kind of slowing down.

Older workers will remain active in the workforce - on a part-time or full-time basis - into their 70s or later. Some will remain in their career positions, staying longer than they ever imagined they would. Others will retire from their career positions and move into other jobs in the same or different fields. A number of "second season" workers will leave employment to start their own businesses. With the average life span in developed countries now almost eighty years, someone "retiring" at 55 has another twenty years of career life available.

There will be a critical need for mature workers. Their wisdom and experience will hold high value for enlightened employers eager for reliable, stable, productive employees. The labor shortage will create all sorts of opportunities for talented seniors. Respected for what they have already accomplished, many will serve as coaches or mentors to younger colleagues.

Personal values will inspire many 50+ workers to continue working. This generation has a core value of being productive members of society. Stopping work may be in conflict with that value.

Retirement will be out of the question for those who have not saved enough to pay their way. They'll have to continue working to pay the bills. The stock market drop made this decision for a lot of retirement-bound workers.

Shifts in retirement will change many lives.

Roger Herman is owner of The Herman Group, Greensboro, NC and is a specialist in employee retention.

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