Semi-Retirees Know the Key to Work-Life Balance.
Reading this article in The Atlantic got me thinking. Maybe understanding the future of work is less about studying Gen Z’s fetish for remote work or Millennials’ desire to be digital nomads. What if a window into the future of work could be understanding the motivations of those who are semi-retired? Maybe understanding how they’re curating their lives can help workers of any age.
Semi-retirees tend to look for roles that grant a sense of purpose, the ability to keep learning, and, perhaps more than anything, flexibility. As quoted in the article, “Those lucky enough to be able to do so might use this period to pursue niche passions, fulfill lifelong dreams, or find new ones that their younger self would never have thought of, like an engineer who got involved in the National Park Service, a congressional researcher who trained as a massage therapist, and the vice president of a manufacturing-equipment company who started hawking hot dogs at baseball games.” It’s less about the achievement and more about the enjoyment.
Here are a few interesting facts and observations in this story:
1. Over the past 20 years, at the same time as labor force participation rates have dropped for younger people, they’ve risen among older adults. Some are simply postponing their exodus from work. But for many, the line between employment and retirement is muddier.
2. In the past month, 13 percent of retired Americans worked for pay, which could mean a one-off gig or a dedicated part-time job. Others are “un-retiring” after a period away.
3. According to one 2014 survey, 80 percent of semi-retirees say they’re employed because they want to be.
4. 40 percent of employed people 65 and older were previously retired. One study found that about half of retirees would consider returning to work if a good opportunity came their way.
A final quote from the article, “As today’s young Americans stare down a future in which it may be common to work 60 years or more before retiring, they’d do well to figure out what they actually enjoy in a job. And plenty of them, it seems, are trying to do just that. More than 50 million people in the U.S. quit their jobs in 2022, many in search of something better—less taxing, more fulfilling, less all-consuming. Even those still striving to create a career they’re proud of might look to semi-retirement as a model of what work could look like—flexible, meaningful, and with the potential for reinvention at any age.”
MEA has created a “Reframing Retirement” 5-day online course that starts August 28 with all kinds of thought leaders. Check out the introductory price and the special discount if you bring a friend. Kari Cardinale, who creates our online programs, is a master at developing “digital intimacy” so I highly recommend you consider this, especially if you’ve seen Kari’s magic with our Transitions or Purpose online courses.