You have your eye on that corner office, because, sure, the Baby Boomer occupant will soon retire, won’t he?
Don’t hold your breath on that. Sorry.
That is the reality in today’s workplace as - increasingly - it becomes plain that the Baby Boom generation has turned its back on the belief that 65 is the right time to retire. Leading edge Boomers now are 70 (the generation is usually dated as 1946 - 1964), and the youngest are 51. Boomers, definitely, hold a lot of the most senior and best paying jobs in the workplace.
Questions: do they ever plan to retire? Why do they in fact keep on working?
Research from insurer Northwestern Mutual said that in fact we do have a retirement age in mind - 68. Note that research included not just Boomers, but also workers as young as Millennials.
Dial into Boomers, and a still older number is heard: 70. Said Robert Johnson, CEO of the American College of Financial Services in Bryn Mawr, PA: “70 is the new 65.”
There are plenty of reasons. Boomers, as a group, are healthier and more active than prior generations. Social Security also incentivizes delaying collection until 70 by enriching monthly benefits 32% for those who ignore their so-called full retirement age of 66 and don’t collect until 70.
But there is still more behind the longer time in the workforce - and many Boomers may well work well beyond 70.
The single biggest reason cited by just about every study, mentioned by every expert, and shouted by most aging Boomers is this simple: lack of dough. Many Boomers saw their retirement kitty contract in the Great Recession of the past decade. Others worked for companies that steadily shrunk pension contributions to the point where a pension check may be barely enough to buy a Happy Meal. Money - or the lack of it - coupled with a desire to continue living the good life (and paying the bills associated with it) is the number one driver of prolonged Boomer work.
Said Steve Silberberg, 54, at adventure vacation company Fitpacking in Hull, Mass., “I speak for most of us when I say we'd love to retire but don't have the funds to do so.” Silberberg indeed speaks for many. Maybe 40% of Boomers have said they have no retirement savings, not a penny. Work is about their only option.
But there are other reasons to keep working.