This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

October 13, 2010

Retirees Must Continue Working

Americans seem destined to keep on working into what would have been their retirement years. A new MetLife study shows Americans will continue working out of financial necessity, beginning with the "Early Boomers".

Though MetLife reports their findings as "startling news", most of us will not be surprised by these results. Years ago, we forecasted the end of retirement as we had known it, but not out of necessity---rather out of the desire to keep contributing to society. The challenging economic times have changed that landscape---significantly---for retirees all over the world.

The study, called "The MetLife Report on Early Boomers" defines these Early Boomers as those born between 1946 and 1955. Due to economic circumstances, they will forego the traditional leisurely retirement and stay in the workforce---some indefinitely.

A mountain of college debt, second mortgages, and sometimes, second home ownership, have piled up. Dealing with these financial obligations, greatly diminished nest eggs, and fearing outliving their savings Early Boomers are in the position of having to work---whether they want to or not. On top of that, 25 percent have "Boomerang Kids", mature children living with them.

Over the next 10 years aging Early Boomers will result in a 50 percent rise in the number of people 65 to 74 years old, a growth rate not seen in 50 years. By 2020, women will be head at least one-third of households, ages 65 to 74. Many of these women will have the additional responsibility of raising their grandchildren.

The labor force participation rate of Boomer men and women is at a 15-year high (65.2 percent); trends suggest that it will rise further in the future. High percentages of working Boomers have had white-collar jobs that were less physically demanding. Their high educational attainment and continuing fitness will facilitate more of them staying in the workforce over the next decade.

This continued labor force participation by these Boomers will create considerable challenges for Human Resources professionals both in accommodating their increasing needs and the larger issue of dealing with the younger generations who want to move ahead.

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