A number of people who are close to or even past the typical age of retirement have said to me that they don’t know what they would do with their time if they retired. So they continue to work even if it is not satisfying in fear of that alternative of boredom, decline and lack of purpose. Some who do retire soon may find they are in that space – if they have not considered and planned for a satisfying, stimulating time of retirement.
In fact, the Federal Reserve published the results of a survey in 2016 which indicated that one-third of retirees eventually reconsider their decision and return to work either full time or part time. Also, the Rand Corporation study published in 2017 showed that 39 percent of those 65 and older who were currently employed had actually retired for a period of time and returned to the workplace.
Financial need can certainly be the reason or one of the reasons for this phenomenon. However, the decision for many people has as much to do with social and personal needs and issues aside from income. Gary Foster wrote about this in his article, “How to Avoid Being a ‘Bored Boomer’ in Retirement” on his website “Making Aging Work” and it was printed at NextAvenue.org: https://www.nextavenue.org/bored-boomer-in-retirement/
Foster suggests 3 things to help one avoid becoming a “bored boomer” in retirement: Unmuzzle Your ‘Essential Self’, Reintegrate Yourself, and Start a Lifestyle Business.
Reintegrate Rather Than Reinvent
One of the most intriguing things to me was Foster’s choice to recommend that boomers reintegrate rather than reinvent themselves. He credits the CEO of Encore.org Marc Freedman’s article in the Harvard Business Review, “The Dangerous Myth of Reinvention” for his choice:
He wrote: “Isn’t there something to be said for racking up decades of know-how and lessons, from failures as well as triumphs? Shouldn’t we aspire to build on that wisdom and understanding? After years studying social innovators in the second half of life — individuals who have done their greatest work after 50 —I’m convinced the most powerful pattern that emerges from their stories can be described as reintegration, not reinvention. These successful late-blooming entrepreneurs weave together accumulated knowledge with creativity, while balancing continuity with change, in crafting a new idea that’s almost always deeply rooted in earlier chapters and activities.”
It’s the difference between continuing, in most cases, doing work that you’ve been doing – and creating something that draws from what you have observed and learned. For many people the process of figuring out what that will be is a process that will energize and excite them and inspire others to do the same.
Regardless of how close you may be to making a decision about retiring, you may find it a stimulating process to think about what you might do to reintegrate yourself for the next phase of your life.
Marc Freedman has written a few books; you may be interested in this one: The Big Shift: Navigating the New Age Beyond Midlife