Roughly 44 million people in the United States are now 65 years or older. By 2050, the Census Bureau expects that figure to double, as the largest generation in American history lives longer than any before it. The generation of Baby Boomers has drawn criticism—from themselves, among others—for holding overly high expectations for their lives and for pushing too hard to meet them. These are qualities, however, that could serve them nicely as they strive to grow older with some comfort and purpose. Americans who were born between 1946 and 1964 aren’t as likely to settle for simply retiring to Florida to play mahjong. “They recognize that the current systems in place are not only inadequate to meet the demands of aging, but woefully inadequate to meet their expectations,” says Joseph Coughlin, the director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s AgeLab, which studies this fast-coming demographic upheaval. “Now that we’re living so much longer, we do not know what we will be doing with all that time.”
Here at RetirementNext, we often say re-invent, not re-tire! A recent article about retiring Baby Boomers in The Atlantic supports us in these thoughts. The shear economic need of the baby boomers and their audacity of demanding more out of life certainly will not leave them when they retire. They are changing retirement forthe better! Look to these baby boomers to continue to contribute the economy long after they are supposed to retire.
That may not suit older workers who want to slow down without opting out entirely. “People don’t want to signal that they want to retire because it can suggest that they are somehow disengaging,” says Jacquelyn James, a co-director of Boston College’s Center on Aging and Work. “But we know people of all ages want these kinds of choices.”
How are YOU going to retire? Why not just change it up a little? Work at changing retirement to fit you!