Are you a Baby Boomer working past 65?

financial freedomIf so, you have joined the Un-Retired club which has many members!

“Un-Retirement” is the growing trend away from earlier retirement, by choice or economic necessity, towards continuing to work past the age of 65. This post will focus on those un-retired persons who need to keep working longer out of economic necessity.

It doesn’t matter whether your collar is blue, pink, green or white, Un-Retired Boomers come from all occupations and income levels.

White collar workers (those that perform professional, managerial, or administrative work) may have more formal education, and a higher working income, but they are not excluded from un-retirement. These workers can find themselves impacted by global market changes, forced layoff, or job loss for other causes with their retirement savings interrupted. The news media is filled with numerous stories:

  • offshoring of white collar jobs and in some cases moving entire companies overseas;
  • corporate downsizing and the resulting reduction of management positions; and
  • automation through digital technologies with job redundancy or loss.

A large number of Un-Retired Boomers in North America never fit into the financial industry’s “freedom 50 Plus” model. This is due to the many personal and market events and circumstances that can prevent this from happening by or before, what was once the mandatory age of retirement at 65.

Zoomer Media Limited (2012) informs us “Data from Statistics Canada and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics confirms that a growing number of people are not retiring at age 65. In Canada, the percentage of participation in the labor force by people age 55 and up is at an all-time high. Experts believe the trend will continue, permanently wiping out the idea that 65 is a magic number signifying the end of the income-earning years. In both Canada and the USA, about 30% of people aged 65-69 are still working, either full time or part time. That age break captures only a tiny percentage of Baby Boomers, the oldest of whom just entered retirement age. The rest of the wave – now aged 47 to 64 – are still outside that traditional retirement benchmark. What will they do when they hit the number? The research is clear: they’ll keep right on working.”

Born between 1946 and 1964, there are approximately 76 million Baby Boomers in the USA and 10 million in Canada.

For the older worker who hasn’t accumulated enough assets to have the choice whether they want to keep working or not, the options are limited. Working longer (Un-Retired) and consuming less, saving more from any income derived is the primary strategy, ideally at a job you like and one that provides adequate compensation. This work could be in the form of part time, casual, seasonal, full time or self-employment, depending on the individual needs and employment situation.

Staying gainfully employed for an Un-Retired worker can be challenging enough if you are in good health. If a disabling health event occurs before a sufficient nest egg is established, then the strategy described above might not be available. This would depend on the severity of the disability and what level of recovery occurs. Working longer may not be possible and barring a windfall or other injection of funds, these folks essentially become unemployed and un-retired at whatever level their savings after the fact, allow. This may require downsizing and/or consolidation to reduce expenses or if there is debt with a decrease in standard of living.

There are Un-Retired individuals though, who work longer and achieve whatever their definition of financial freedom is, so all is not gloom and doom!

It appears true the well worn cliché that health is wealth and for un-retired Boomers, being pro-active with our health and wellness is key to increase the potential of reaching financial and other life goals.

Living and Working longer

We can now legally work past 65 years of age and this is in step with the costs of living longer. “A century ago the duration of retirement was expected to be only a few years, and many people never lived long enough to experience it. It is interesting to consider that given the increases in human longevity, retirement can potentially last as long as our working life. “The biggest financial risk we face in retirement today is outliving our savings; a century ago the biggest retirement risk was dying too young.” (Alger, 2013)

 

Boomers may continue to work to contribute and stay connected, but significant numbers will do so out of economic necessity. Bestselling author Kimberly Foss (2013), advises “Saving up enough money to pay for a 30-year retirement is a daunting prospect. Many Americans don’t have enough money to retire in this ultra-low interest rate environment.”

Zoomermedia Limited (2012) informs us “Data from Statistics Canada and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics confirms that a growing number of people are not retiring at age 65. In Canada, the percentage of participation in the labor force by people age 55 and up is at an all-time high. Experts believe the trend will continue, permanently wiping out the idea that 65 is a magic number signifying the end of the income-earning years. In both Canada and the USA, about 30% of people aged 65-69 are still working, either full time or part time. That age break captures only a tiny percentage of Baby Boomers, the oldest of whom just entered retirement age. The rest of the wave – now aged 47 to 64 – are still outside that traditional retirement benchmark. What will they do when they hit the number? The research is clear: they’ll keep right on working.”

What does a unretired Baby Boomer who needs or wants to successfully stay employed up to and beyond 65 years of age need to manage? I will answer this in the next post, when time permits..

 

How we Stress ourselves out!

I originally posted this in August of 2014 but due to its significance in my mind anyways , am reposting.

The impact of stressors on our wellbeing is often overlooked. Many of us are unclear what a stress response is and what affect it has on our health. The following article from HeartMath points out the role emotions play in creating the stress response in  our bodies.

DSC_0376What is “stress?”

Stress comes from our perception and emotional reactions to an event or idea. It can be any feeling of anxiety, irritation, frustration, or hopelessness, etc. Stress is not only created by a response to an external situation or event. A lot of daily stress is created by ongoing attitudes, that is, recurring feelings of agitation, worry, anxiety, anger, judgments, resentment, insecurities and self-doubt. These emotions are known to drain emotional energy while engaging in everyday life. It is emotions—more than thoughts alone—activating physical changes that make up the “stress response.” Emotions trigger the autonomic nervous system and, in turn, trigger stress hormones that cause many harmful effects on the brain and body. Stressful feelings actually lead to a chaotic pattern in the beat-to-beat changes in the heart’s rhythm–indicating that our nervous system is out of sync. When this happens, a cascade of over 1,400 biochemical changes are set in motion that have a wide range of effects on the body’s systems.

Check out the complete article by HeartMath here if you want to know more.

Choosing Wellness in our Thoughts and Words

3 Monkeys of Evil

During a recent trip to southern Thailand, I came across statues of the three wise monkeys, accompanied by a gold colored Buddha in the background. They were set in a cave where a continuous stream of water fell from above, whose trickling sounds added a feeling of peacefulness. I do not know the history behind this setting or how old it is. It was one of those coincidences we experience in our lives, as the three wise monkeys had been on my mind prior to travelling 12000 km and accidentally finding this special spot.

I’m not the only one apparently, as there are many worldwide collectors of the different styles and materials used in producing statues, that depict the three wise monkeys.

It is not clear as to their origins, but it is thought to have occurred 400 years ago in Japan where the three monkeys are known as  Mizaru, who covers  his eyes and sees no evil; Kikazaru, who covers his ears and who hears no evil; and Iwazaru, who covers his mouth and speaks no evil.

In Buddhist tradition, the  proverb is about not dwelling on evil thoughts. Depending on the country, there are various meanings attached to the three wise monkeys that relate to being of good mind, speech and action.

It may also signify a code of silence in gangs, or organised crime.

Monkeys have been held sacred and/or in high esteem for centuries: the Hanuman Languor in India, the Rhesus Macaque in China and the Japanese Macaque  (Snow Monkey) in Japan.  Monkey folklore existed centuries before Taoism, Buddhism or Confucianism.

Mahatma Gandhi was the leader of the Indian independence movement and among other attributes, author of the Seven Social Sins. The one notable exception to his lifestyle of non-possession was a small statue of the three monkeys. There seems to be a parallel between the seven social sins and the proverb of the three wise monkeys. This photo was taken at the tomb site of Mr. Gandhi in New Delhi, India.

Proverbs are used in numerous cultures, the most well known source being the Book of Proverbs in the Bible.

 

 

 

Unretirement,also known as Generation U.

 

OxenThe Baby Boomers and the  X, Y and Z generations largely make up the population of the US or Canada. Agreement about the years each generation was born between varies, but it is usually fairly close.

The lastest capital letter that is appearing in the mainstream is generation U, for those Boomers who can’t afford to retire or who can and prefer not to. I am interested in those individuals in generation U, who can’t afford to stop working and the challenges they face. The upside of this is that the research out there supports the health and economic benefits derived from continuing to work such as: a connection with others, a sense of purpose and structure, possible extended health and pension plans, additional income and so on.This is especially true if your job is a match for your strengths, interests and career aspirations.

Results from the Ipsos Reid poll conducted for the 2014 Sun Life Canadian Unretirement Index  found that:  “As we have seen in past years, those who plan to work past 65 fall into two camps. Thirty-five per cent say they’ll do so because they want to. Sixty-five per cent feel they will need to. The gap between the two has been gradually widening since 2011.”

In the US, labour market participation rates of people 65 years and older has increased and according to the United States Census Bureau (2013) : “Within the 65 and over population, 65 to 69-year-olds saw the largest change, increasing from 21.8 percent in 1990 to 30.8 percent in 2010.” This data  is a bit dated as these censuses are conducted every ten years, the next set of results coming after 2020 will no doubt show further increases.

So it appears, that once again the Baby Boomers are spearheading social and economic change!