For many professionals, retirement used to mean a complete end to work and the start of unfettered leisure time. But recent data show many adults are taking a different approach to their retirements by exploring a number of options available to them in today’s complex and complicated work world.
We continue to unpack information from the 2014 Merrill Lynch study, Work in Retirement: Myths and Motivations, and learn that many individuals now embark on a more nuanced, four-phase retirement process: pre-retirement, career intermission, re-engagement and leisure. Even more specifically, it’s interesting to note another set of data, which indicates women tend to experience and engage in retirement differently than their male counterparts.
The Merrill Lynch study rejects the myth that retirement is a time of declined engagement and instead outlines how individuals begin to prepare — ahead of retirement — to incorporate work and other activities into their post-career lives. According to the study, as many as 54% of pre-retirees who want to work in retirement start to make plans two years before they retire (pre-retirement).
Almost 70% of the Merrill Lynch subjects who scheduled a break (career intermission) between their careers and post-retirement work said they did so to allow time to “recharge and relax” from work responsibilities. While this can be a risky course of action — older workers can be perceived as out of step and out of touch with business networks, industry trends and evolving technologies; it may take longer to find employment as an older and retired worker — most are able return to the workplace in ways they seek, with the added bonus of increased work-life balance and flexibility (re-engagement). Eventually, as they advance in age, many of those surveyed embrace their earned leisure time as the final phase of their retirements.
But the 2016 Forbes article by Richard Eisenberg, “Retirement Life: Men and Women Do It Very Differently,” highlights a 2016 TIAA study that discovered women take on more diverse activities than men when it comes to work and play during their retirement years. According to Eisenberg, the TIAA study found that men are slightly more likely to give their time to sports-related activities or remain close to traditional work-related environments (through consulting, teaching/mentoring or part-time work). Retired women stay almost equally involved with work-related environments, but also give their time to volunteering, care-taking and engaging in learning and creative opportunities, as well as staying physically and socially active.
These studies — and what they reveal about how 21st century professionals approach work and retirement — are food for thought for women at any stage of their professional careers. You’re putting time, effort, skill, focus and dedication into doing your best at the work you do. Why not also put some of those energies toward getting ready for your ideal retirement? Wherever you are in your retirement journey, The Humphreys Group can help you ensure that you are well-prepared to head down the post-work path you want to take. Contact our team to start the conversation.