Fresh Eyes

Study Shows New Views on Retirement

By Shekinah Harper, Editorial Intern

Previous generations viewed retirement as a means to an end but with the senior citizen population expected to increase to 1.5 million by 2019, retirees think it’s time to redefine the term retirement.

A new landmark study from Merill Lynch, conducted in partnership with Age Wave, found that 72 percent of pre-retirees over the age of 50 say their ideal retirement will include working in a new, flexible and fulfilling environment.

Retirees specifically in the Atlanta area are more likely to take a career intermission when they first retire, but then return to work because they need the income.

The study shows as people live longer and healthier lives, they’ll continue to find satisfaction from work even after retiring from their primary career. For most retirees, work is an enriching experience they may not want to end at age 65 or even 70. Some continue in their current career, while others pursue long-desired interest. With technology booming, 24 percent of working retirees use their career to remain socially engaged.

Working retirees can be divided into four categories, each with distinct priorities, ambitions and reasons behind why they choose to work during retirement:

  1. Driven Achievers (15 percent of working retirees): They can be defined as workaholics. They enjoy being at the top of their game in their career and don’t plan to slow down.
  2. Caring Contributors (33 percent): Their primary motivation comes from their desire to give back and make a difference, whether they are volunteering or working for pay.
  3. Life Balancers (24 percent): They have discovered a less-stressful, more flexible way of working that allows them to remain socially connected, while maintaining much needed income.
  4. Earnest Earners (28 percent): In most cases they are frustrated about working at their age but they need the income.

Current working retirees advise pre-retirees who want to work during retirement to be open to trying something new and willing to earn less to do something they truly enjoy.

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