Retirement used to mean the end of work. But now we’re at a tipping point: a majority of people will be continuing to work after they retire — often in new and different ways.
• Increasing life expectancy, which has produced a retirement that can last 20 years or more.
• Elimination of pensions for most workers, shifting the burden for funding retirement from employers to retirees.
• Recent economic uncertainty, which has been a wake-up call for many people that it is not financially sustainable to retire without some employment income.
• Re-visioning of later life, as new generations seek greater purpose, stimulation, social engagement, and fulfillment in retirement.
While some are delaying retirement, a growing number of people are continuing to work after they retire. Because this is largely uncharted territory, pre-retirees who anticipate working in retirement are confronted with many questions and uncertainties: Will I be able to find work in my later years? If so, for how long? How can I balance work with other things I want to do? What kind of work might I be able to do? Will I enjoy it? Will it help me be more financially secure? What can I do now to best prepare for working during my retirement years?
These pre-retirees can learn essential lessons from people who are now working in retirement. This landmark study— based on a nationally representative survey of 1,856 working retirees and nearly 5,000 pre-retirees and non-working retirees—is the most comprehensive investigation of the successes, pitfalls and innovative career paths in today’s retirement.
Busting the four biggest myths
By examining the experiences of working and non-working retirees, the Work in Retirement: Myths and Motivations study dispels important misperceptions.
Myth 1: Retirement means the end of work.
Reality: Over seven in 10 pre-retirees say they want to work in retirement.In the near future, it will be increasingly unusual for retirees not to work.
Myth 2: Retirement is a time of decline.
Reality: A new generation of working retirees is pioneering a more engaged and active retirement—the New Retirement Workscape—which is comprised of four different phases: (1) Pre-Retirement, (2) Career Intermission, (3) Reengagement and (4) Leisure.
Myth 3: People primarily work in retirement because they need the money.
Reality: This research reveals four types of working retirees: Driven Achievers, Caring Contributors, Life Balancers and Earnest Earners.While some work primarily for the money, many others are motivated by important nonfinancial reasons.
Myth 4: New career ambitions are for young people.
Reality: Nearly three out of five retirees launch into a new line of work, and working retirees are three times more likely than pre-retirees to be entrepreneurs.