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To Retire or Not to Retire: That is the Question

In years past it seemed that people were only working for retirement. It was the silver lining that allowed them to put up with all the late hours, weekends, and holidays. Retirements were big events, entire companies were supportive of the retiree, throwing parties, and giving well-wishes. Retirements were hand in hand with future generations taking the reins and the retiree finally relaxing and enjoying the fruits of their labor. That’s just not the case these days. When people start to talk about retirement, the mood becomes mixed. For some, retirement is still cakes and balloons, for others it is the end of a road they are not ready to exit.

This year the oldest baby boomers are hitting the big 6-5. They are ready for social security benefits, or are they? A “Boomer” is defined as an American born during the “baby boom” following World War II. More often than not, boomers have been in the work force for the majority of their lives, but see no end in sight. Why would someone continue to work past their thirty or forty year stretch? The sad truth is that many American’s are forced to stay in the workplace. With the fall of the stock market, their nest eggs were trampled. Rising health care costs, declining home values, and a transition from the “me” generation to the “we” generation are forcing boomers to redefine retirement and the pros and cons associated with it.

Retirement is being redefined to mean “retiring” from your long held position with the company you have been loyal to for the majority of your life only to launch into an entirely new career. The boomer generation is one that is deeply rooted in honest, hard work with large rewards and some say that keeping them in the workforce as long as possible will provide some much needed help to America.

Not only will the added funds boomers are generating help America begin to see a light at the end of the recession tunnel but, the added experience and knowledge boomers hold will be an asset to the younger generations. For most Millennials (those Americans born between 1980 and 2000) the wealth of information boomers hold is immeasurable. Their knowledgeable skills will not only aide in continued growth of a business but help train the future generations to ensure America’s economy not only bounces back, but prospers.

Transitioning to the “we” generation is another reason boomers are staying in the workplace longer than their parents did. Boomers had children later than their parents did; therefore they are left paying college tuitions and rent all while finding ways to care for their graying parents. Boomers are not only taking care of themselves, they are taking care of their families.

The bottom line is that there is no set time for retirement and the decisions surrounding it should be all your own. Different things work for different people, but keeping in mind that your happiness is the primary concern will make for a much easier transition no matter if you retire at fifty-five or never get around to signing those retirement papers.