When my dad retired at 55—the age I am now—he had a solid pension plan and the kind of comprehensive healthcare coverage workers today only dream about.
During his so-called retirement years, he played some tennis and golf. He also helped hurricane survivors rebuild their homes and showed Kenyan AIDS orphans how to use a computer.
Like many people of my generation approaching what used to be called retirement age during a recession that has reduced IRAs and 401(k)s to pale, sickly vestiges of their former selves, I have no plan to leave gainful employment anytime soon—if ever. (A new Pew Research study reports that most full-time workers in the “Threshold Generation,” ages 50-64, expect to delay retirement; 16% plan never to retire at all.)
On the other hand, according to another recent study, millions of us Thresholders are making the move to “encore careers” (in education, health care, and the nonprofit sector) that allow us to use our skills and experience to help others. Meaningful work, reasonable income and benefits: not so different from my dad’s retirement after all.
By Debra Wierenga