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Is Working Past Retirement Age An Antidote To Getting Old?


The word retirement is losing its meaning. A new study finds that almost half the people who say they are retired are still working or have worked in the recent past. Nearly three quarters of baby boomers who are not yet retired say they plan to stay on the job past retirement age. NPR's Ina Jaffe has more.

INA JAFFE, BYLINE: This is a dictionary definition of retirement.

KEN DYCHTWALD: It says, to disappear, to withdraw and go away.

JAFFE: Well, that's not what it means anymore, says Ken Dychtwald. He's the CEO of a research firm called Age Wave and one of the co-authors of the study.

DYCHTWALD: Three quarters of the boomer generation envision some continued work in retirement to be not only good for their nest egg, but also for good for their mind, good for their heart. People are even saying that some continued work is sort of an antidote to aging.

JAFFE: That's not to say that remaining in the workforce is always easy for older adults. Most want to work part-time or have a flexible schedule. David Tyrie, the head of retirement programs at Merrill Lynch, the other co-author of the study, says companies will have to adapt to the growing older workforce.

DAVID TYRIE: They're going to have to increasingly offer things like mentorships, retraining, sabbaticals if they're going to win that war for talent.

JAFFE: Increasingly, older people who don't find what they want in the job market are going to work for themselves. In fact, in 2012, people in their late 50s and early 60s accounted for a quarter of all new businesses. Ina Jaffe, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Ina Jaffe is a veteran NPR correspondent covering the aging of America. Her stories on Morning Edition and All Things Considered have focused on older adults' involvement in politics and elections, dating and divorce, work and retirement, fashion and sports, as well as issues affecting long term care and end of life choices. In 2015, she was named one of the nation's top "Influencers in Aging" by PBS publication Next Avenue, which wrote "Jaffe has reinvented reporting on aging."
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