Most boomers are painfully aware of how badly prepared they are for retirement. Almost half of them have saved virtually nothing for their golden years. The situation is not pretty.
The only solution for many is to work full-time to age 70 (and beyond for some) or to transition into part-time employment after their full retirement age – 65 or 66 depending on your birth year.
But if the numbers I am seeing about employment after retirement are correct, the love generation could be in store for a rude awakening.
Most boomers assume employers are supportive of people working past age 65. They assume that their employers will allow them to transition to part-time work and will provide benefits for part-time employees. They also assume that staying healthy and performing well in their current positions is enough to guarantee they’ll be able to hold on to their jobs.
Unfortunately, recent research says nothing could be further from reality.
Everyone by now is aware that age discrimination is rampant, and it is the one type of discrimination this country accepts. As a result, almost a quarter of the long-term unemployed population in this country is older than 55.
If you are between the ages of 55 and 64, it takes twice as long to find a job as it would if you were in your 20s.
A Society for Human Resource Management study reported that only 5% of employers offer a phased retirement program and few employers offer part-time opportunities.
Of the employers who offer any part-time positions for those of retirement age, even fewer offer the same benefit packages that they offer full-time workers.
I meant it when I said this situation was not pretty. But there are things you can do to make your work situation after retirement viable.
First, we have a lot of experience under our belts – experience that younger workers can benefit from. Consider offering yourself as a mentor to your current employer.
If you’re as good as you think you are at your job, your boss should be open to using what you’ve learned over the last 40-some years to benefit his newer folks.
Next, get out there. Networking and meeting new people is the name of the game. If you’ve spent the last 20 or 30 years in the same industry, I can guarantee you do not know what the possibilities are.
Sorry to be back on the negative, but only 14% of boomers and 18% of Gen Xers report working their networks. If you’re going to turn the vision of your retirement into a reality, you have to get out and meet new people.
And if you’re planning to move to the retirement belt, make sure the criteria for where you move includes the availability of employment. It won’t be any fun anywhere if you’re scraping by on the average $1,300 a month Social Security check.
Retrain yourself if necessary. And that doesn’t have to mean getting another degree or even leaving home. The number of online training opportunities is endless.
If you work your contacts, update your skills and make it widely known you are on the hunt for a new challenge, it can work.
We may not have done a good job of planning for retirement, but we can make the next 15 or 20 years even more rewarding than our previous work lives were.
Get out there and make it happen.