More and more retirees are avoiding "shuffleboardom" by working in encore careers, part-time jobs or volunteering.
Marc Freedman talks Experience Corps, which matches up communities in need with retirees who have the skills and desire to help.
Helping the Community
From the beginning, Experience Corps focused on low income neighborhoods where young people were growing up in extreme poverty, and the schools were strapped for resources. We looked for older people to become involved in the program from those very same neighborhoods where the schools were located. They could focus on their passion for helping young people and earn a stipend.
The non-profit sector is experiencing a shortage that's expected in ten years to be 640,000 leadership positions. There is quite a good fit between the desire of many Boomers to find new meaning in work that has an impact on society and to continue to make an income.
Recruiters targeting older people:
For positions that are funded, employers are having a hard time trying to find promising candidates to fill them. As those shortages continue to grow, the aging Boomers are going to become increasingly appealing targets for recruitment efforts. We've already seen that happen in the retail sectors because employers can't find stable, experienced people to fill those jobs.
All across the county men and women are living a powerful vision of work that is in contrast to the dream of the "Golden Years", that dream of the freedom from work. They're animated by the idea of freedom to work, in new ways, on new terms, to new ends, and in many cases, to more important ends.
There is a great concern that millions of Baby Boomers, when they reach traditional retirement age, that they're going to behave in the way that their parents did, that they're going to head to the golf course or the shuffleboard, that they're going to disengage, that essentially a quarter of the population is going to spend a third of their lives in subsidized leisure, that this long grey wave of greedy geezers will soon take America to the cleaners, and this is going to be a calamity for future generations and it's something that we can't afford as a society. But there is actually considerable evidence that this new group of people who are hitting their sixties are looking for something quite different from their parents' generation.
Our Only Increasing Natural Resource
This huge, growing asset in human talent is under-recognized, and we're doing very little to help them use their accumulated experience in ways that not only benefit them personally but are contributing to the economy, contributing to social cohesion, and I think that we're at risk of squandering what may be the only increasing natural resource in the country today.
American Association of Retired Persons CEO Bill Novelli says retirement is not what it used to be.
AARP's "retired persons" aren't so retired anymore. Novelli says:
Half of our over 38 million members are working: They are working full-time or part-time; they're working because they want to or because they have to. People are going into retirement in different ways they're starting new businesses, going back to school or changing careers. The idea of the rocking chair is pretty much passé.
Snowbirds used to follow the sunshine, now they follow jobs: There are companies, like Borders and Home Depot, which have clever snow bird strategies they'll say to someone, "you can work in our store in Maine in the summer, and in the winter, come down to Florida."
There are more entrepreneurs over 50 than under 50: When you think about it, it actually stands to reason because these are people with experience. They have found a niche in the business or non-profit world and are ready to give back or to try new things.
Boomer Vincent Hayes' encore career is teaching and counseling Seattle college students. Having been a student at age 57, he's perfect for the job.