From the Great Resignation (Big Quit) to the Great Unretirement, American retirees are returning to work in droves. But why are they doing this?
It is mainly financial reasons that drive many seniors back to work: Due to inflation, life has become significantly more expensive. At the same time, stock market slumps have drastically reduced private pensions, because in the USA 75 percent of private pension plans co-financed by employers are invested in the stock market.
But boredom also plays a role: for some, life as a pensioner turned out to be more boring than expected. The many job advertisements on the labor market are just what some seniors need. Employers are also welcoming the new trend.
Studies show that older workers are good for business. For example, elderly customers value advice and service from other seniors. In addition, the retirees bring experience and a work ethic that younger people often lack, they say.
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According to the latest polls, two-thirds of all US retirees would consider returning to their old jobs. Over 1.5 million Americans have done so. In addition, a quarter of all employees are currently postponing their retirement later than originally planned.
Headlines about the “Great Unretirement” are now piling up in the US media – there are plenty of tips for retirees who are looking for a job again after months or years of work breaks.
“It’s different when you apply when you’re in your mid-60s or mid-70s,” says finance expert Chris Farrell on media portal KCM. Instead of sending out a letter of application and a CV, as was the case in the past, the author of “Unretirement: How the Baby Boomer Generation is Changing Our Ideas of Work, Community and a Good Life” advises American retirees to do more networking.
Anyone looking for a job should first contact former colleagues, family, friends and acquaintances directly. “They can make the necessary connections more easily.”
Californian Terri McMichael tried it – and succeeded. In one of her favorite shops, the 65-year-old immediately asked about a job.
She came as a customer and stayed as a saleswoman, the former interior designer revealed to Channel 3. She really enjoys working with customers. “I’ve always loved this store. I’m really happy.”
McMichael retired five years earlier. Now she works five days a week at the small hardware store in Palm Springs and hopes to remain employed for many years to come.
“It’s a great place to work. I couldn’t sit quietly at home.” Like her, more and more Americans seem to find retirement unsatisfactory.
Before, they had a job and social contacts. Nevertheless, for McMichael and most other seniors looking for a job, it is primarily about money: “In this economic situation, I need an extra income.”
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She is no exception. “Many have not saved enough to retire by the time they are 65. Everything costs more. Anyone who now resorts to capital investments in their retirement has to worry: will I use up my savings too quickly?” says the financial expert Farrell.
Extra earnings would allow many seniors to delay claiming Social Security. At age 62, Americans can have their Social Security paid out. But if you only do this at the age of 70, you will receive higher monthly payments.
According to surveys, older Americans continue to complain about age discrimination in the workplace. Still, many employers seem increasingly aware of the merits of their aging employees.
According to studies by Columbia University, older workers change jobs far less often than their younger colleagues and also miss significantly fewer working days. They were also certified as having more pronounced interpersonal skills.
Columbia research of small businesses in New York found other benefits of older employees: more experience, more attention to customer needs – and a better work ethic. “I think older people take work more seriously,” said Richard Aviles, owner of a cleaning chain.
The owners of countless other family businesses such as restaurants, bagel shops or the Steinway piano shop
Even in the not-so-small Apple Store in Manhattan, older employees are now placed at the entrance doors with the intention of taking older customers’ shyness away from the technical ambience.