Older Workers Are Changing Work and Retirement

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Many recent retirees are saying they want to work at least “a bit” in retirement. More than 2 million people retired during the first 18 months of the pandemic. They now appear to be heading back to work in what might be best described as quiet returning. Data shows that the return to work of onetime retirees is at higher levels than before the spring 2020 alarm bells caused many to run for the exits. At a time when “quiet quitting” — doing just enough to meet your job’s position description, but no more, has become a strategy for some to maintain their idea of quality of life, why would people who have worked decades and achieved what has been sold as nirvana, a.k.a. retirement, come back to work? In part, the reason for returning includes what many might assume — money worries and the looming threat of inflation. Survey data from Joblist do indicate that 27 percent of those quietly returning to work were doing so because they needed the money and another 21 percent feared that inflation was eroding their retirement nest egg. But a full 60 percent of retirees returning to work said they were simply “looking for something to do.” According to Joblist CEO Kevin Harrington, “Many people struggle with how to spend their time after they retire and miss the social connection that work provides.”

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