Boomers Don't Want To Retire Because They ‘Like Going To Work’ — Making Promotions Harder For Gen X & Millennials

Most baby boomers either can't afford to retire or miss the camaraderie that comes with having a job.

older woman looking out window with laptop in front of her sitting at table fizkes / Shutterstock

It seems baby boomers have no plans to retire anytime soon and will instead choose to work well into their older ages. New information has emerged from a Fortune article, which reported on the changing perceptions of how boomers view work and the unlikelihood that they'll even have enough money to retire in the first place.

Boomers admit they won't retire because they 'like going to work.'

In an interview with Fortune, George Cavdeon, 73, admitted that he tried out retirement in his 50s but quickly found out that it wasn't for him. He was bored spending his days around the house and golfing in his free time. So, he decided to pursue a second career at a small firm, working in marketing. Now, 18 years later, he's still working there.


"Retirement to me is a scary thing. How much can you lay on the beach?" Cavedon told Fortune. "For my own personal mental health and well-being, I like being active and working."



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Cadevon isn't the only boomer who has continued to work past the age of 65. According to the Pew Research Center, almost 20% of Americans 65 and older are employed, nearly double the share of those who were working 35 years ago. In total, around 11 million Americans 65 or older are working today. 

Many of those older Americans work not just for the money but, like Cavedon, for the social aspect of it as well as the mental stimulation. Mark Walton, a journalist and the author of "Unretired," which tells the story of Americans ages 60 to 80 who have opted out of leaving the workforce, told Fortune that a much higher portion of baby boomers have college degrees compared with generations before them, and have worked less physically taxing jobs.

"They are transforming professional and executive career trajectories and what they may look like for generations to come," Walton said. "The more successful you’ve been, especially financially, the more likely you are to feel like a failure in retirement,” said Walton. “What kind of a person doesn’t want to have money and be retired? Turns out there’s a certain kind of person. They’ve been in careers; they’re very curious and very competitive."

Most baby boomers also can't afford to retire and are forced to work longer.

According to a survey by financial services firm Credit Karma, about  27% of people 59 or older have no retirement savings. Similarly, fewer than half of working-age Americans have any retirement savings, according to Census numbers. Savings rates usually rise with age, but only to a point. In the 55 to 64-year-old boomer age group, 58% of Americans own retirement accounts. 


It's why so many boomers rely on their children's finances to support them in retirement, which is an unfair burden. Their continued presence in the workplace also doesn't help the generations that come after them when it comes to career growth opportunities.

Boomers Don't Want To Retire Because They Like Going To WorkPhoto: nortonrsx / Canva Pro

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Promotions will become harder for Gen Xers and millennials.

There's a growing fear among younger workers that they'll have much different financial outcomes than boomers. Speaking with Fortune, Mark Walton pointed out that America’s retirement crisis is "serious and sad."

A career strategist named Kyyah Abdul even broke down why the position of being a manager is starting to become wildly unappealing to generations following boomers, especially millennials and Gen Zers, despite their desire to make more money in the workplace. Abdul explained that boomers and Gen X in higher positions don't want to leave their jobs because of the money.



"These people don't want to leave because of how much money they're getting for very little work," Abdul said. "I personally believe there are people out there that want to be managers, and they want to progress up the ladder, but there's a standstill right here."


She observed that most employees, especially millennials and Gen Z, who want to gain promotions, aren't able to move up the ladder because the people at the top aren't transitioning over to retirement. Because of that, many people have been in managerial positions for quite some time.

In an ideal world, basic necessities like housing, food, and childcare wouldn't be that expensive. People over 65 would be able to retire comfortably or find enjoyment outside of work.

Unfortunately, this American ideology that we must work until we die is wildly unsustainable and perpetuates a cycle of individuals being denied the right to enjoy life during their later years.


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Nia Tipton is a Chicago-based entertainment, news, and lifestyle writer whose work delves into modern-day issues and experiences.