In this collection of insights from social media users, we explore the question of why many Baby Boomers are postponing their retirement. These 15 responses provide a multifaceted look at the challenges and reasons behind their decision to keep working, shedding light on financial struggles, changing work dynamics, and the pursuit of a fulfilling retirement lifestyle.
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“Many of us can’t afford to retire. While we’ve been ‘sucking up all the resources’ so the younger generation has to go without, we got a few surprises along the way that most of you are unaware of. Around age 40–50, many of us Boomers found out that the pensions we were promised when we were hired were being eliminated. Those older than us and nearing retirement got grandfathered in, but the more junior employees saw our pensions go away. Instead, they came out with something called a 401k Plan. This was in the late 1980’s to early 1990’s. At first, the companies told us they would match our contributions to the plans dollar for dollar. It wasn’t long, however, before they cut it to 50 cents on the dollar – then less; a classic case of “bait and switch”. Of course, there was a cap on percentage of income one could contribute, as well as a cap on how much the company would contribute, as well.”
“Who said we weren’t? Most of my friends are retired. Most of us also have side hustles because between 65 (or, in some cases, 62) and death lie a whole lot of years that need to be filled with something other than daytime TV and day drinking.”
“They can’t. Many boomers didn’t save money for retirement, or if they did, they didn’t save enough, either because they miscalculated or because they didn’t make enough money to save enough money so that they could retire.”
“We enjoy working. We talk with old friends and make new ones. Right now I’m laying on the couch and that is the one action I try to avoid. so I work part time. It fills my needs.”
“I’m a boomer who was born several years after the baby boom started. I graduated from high school into a recession (sound familiar) and had to compete with millions upon millions of other baby boomers for what few jobs there were.”
“Baby boomers cannot always afford to retire. They are expecting to live longer than the past generation. The cost of living has climbed steeply during their lives.”
“No pension. Lost their job at age 50 due to downsizing or offshoring or just plain company greed. Greatly reduced pension after company bankruptcy, see airlines.”
“They began phasing out dedicated pensions and those that do have them are finding them cut back as the companies deliberately went out of business so they wouldn’t have to pay into them.”
“We helped pay for our children’s education and their weddings and helped them through their starts in life. But we took money out of our savings to do that and the kids aren’t ready to pay us back yet.”
“Last year, my beloved neighbor’s husband died. They were both retired and owned a house (fully paid). The lady never worked (homemaker). After her husband’s death, she doesn’t get any pension, just $600–$700. She has to pay 300–400pm utilities and 400 pm property tax plus $500 pm for her food. Can she manage to pay $1300–1500 pm with her $600 pm? NO.” She has to work.
“I retired, but I’m one of the lucky ones owing to an inheritance. Many of my contemporaries cannot afford to retire. They didn’t inherit money, lived paycheck to paycheck for decades, didn’t save money, or had their savings wiped out in the crashes of 2001 or 2008.”
“There are two distinct reasons that may keep people at work. One is that they cannot afford to retire, the other is they may get far more out of working than out of mooching around doing bugger-all.”
“I’m retired from my teaching career. I’m not retired from running the farm I bought for myself for my 50th birthday. I’m not retired from making a very good living trading stocks and bonds.”
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