Hot Flashes

Rebootyou power buttonLaboring longer is growing trend for Americans

With an eye on the Labor Day weekend, here’s an AP story by Dave Carpenter, AP Business Writer, about more Americans laboring past the traditional retirement age and working into their late 60s and beyond.

While the average retirement age remains 63, that standard may soon be going the way of the gold watch - a trend expected to accelerate as baby boomers close in on retirement without sufficient savings. Growing evidence documents that people are working longer as they live longer.

Twenty-nine percent of people in their late 60s were working in 2006, up from 18 percent in 1985, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nearly 6 million workers last year were 65 or over.

Over the next decade, the number of 55-and-up workers is expected to rise at more than five times the rate of the overall work force, the BLS reported.

A slowing economy and stock market, squeezing funds set aside for retirement, also are contributing.

Click here to read the article.

Rebootyou power featured as a “Bright Idea” in San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Magazine

Sunday, May 11, 2008, San Francisco Chronicle

Rebootyou power buttonEx-electric lineman reboots as policeman – at age 56

Jeff Smethurst retired after 36 years as a lineman and supervisor for Pacific Gas & Electric Co., a large utility headquartered in San Francisco, CA.

He has rebooted himself at age 56 – as a policeman! His remarkable reinvention story was written up in the San Francisco Chronicle.

In retirement, says the article, “… Smethurst isn’t going fishing, or buying white shoes and a matching belt, or picking out a condo in Florida. Smethurst’s idea of retirement is to strap on a gun and a badge and chase after bad guys.”

Click here to read the article.

Staying on the job

An article by Bill Novelli, CEO of AARP, in the October issue of the AARP Bulletin, discusses the trend among American workers to stay on the job past normal “retirement” age. Here are a few excerpts:

“More Americans are working longer, into their so-called retirement years. Some are setting up their own shops, others have changed jobs or even careers, and many are still at the same organization where they’ve been for decades.

“But not everyone who wants to work longer has it easy finding a job they want to do. It can be a challenge. Sometimes the problem is a lack of skills or education, or a limited or spotty work history. Other times it can be employers who think older workers have lost a step, can’t keep up with the times or have little to contribute.

“At AARP we’re tackling the issue on both the employee and employer sides. On our website,, you’ll find information on choosing a career, finding a job, starting a business and many other topics. There’s also a list of AARP’s National Employer team — businesses committed to hiring older workers.

“Our goal is to bring companies and job applicants together and to promote older workers. A study we did with Towers Perrin, a human resources firm, showed that older workers do cost slightly more than younger employees, but the cost is offset by positive traits like reliability, loyalty and skills. People who work longer contribute to their own well-being, to their workplaces and to overall society. As more older Americans stay on the job, the trend is going in the right direction.”

Rebootyou power buttonEx-CEOs Looking for Second Acts

A Sept. 10th article in the Wall Street Journal describes the search by former CEOs for satisfying work after leaving the corner office.

“They want new jobs where they can satisfy their own needs rather than those of investors and directors — and get some relief from the grueling schedules and pressures they faced as CEOs in big companies,” writes Carol Hymowitz. “Mostly, they want to keep learning by taking on new challenges.”

Like other rebooters, former chief executive officers face a period that requires patience and soul searching before they find the right place to land. Hymowitz quotes one ex-CEO as saying he’s hoping for “the signal, where my heart and head come together and I know ‘this is what I should do.’”

Another ex-CEO told Hymowitz, “Everyone says I’m more likely to find something worthwhile that makes me happy if I take my time.”

Rebootyou power buttonAlmost a fifth expect to work until 73 or beyond: AARP Poll

The latest AARP poll of working adults over 50 shows that 18% believe they will work beyond age 73 or will never retire, while 48% expect to retire between 65 and 72. Here are the results for the question, “At what age do you think you will stop working completely and not work for pay at all?”

Age Percentage







Will work forever/will never retire


Don’t know





Rebootyou power buttonMore Americans Age 55 and Older Are Working Full Time

An increasing percentage of older Americans are in the labor force, the Employee Benefit Research Institute reported on Aug. 2.

Those ages 55 or older in the labor force increased from about 38% in 1993 to 45% in 2006. For those ages 65-69, the percentage increased from about 18% in 1985 to 29% in 2006.

Not only are members of the older population more likely to work, they are more likely to be working full time, full year, EBRI said. The trend toward more full-time, full-year work among older workers occurs across virtually every demographic category.

These trends are likely driven by individuals’ need to obtain affordable employment-based health insurance and their need to continue to accumulate savings in employment-based defined contribution retirement plans.

EBRI said these trends are likely to continue, since private-sector employers have been phasing out retiree health insurance for younger workers and are continuing to shift out of defined benefit pensions and into defined contribution retirement plans.

To read the full EBRI report on the Employment Status of Workers Ages 55 or older, click here.

Rebootyou power buttonRebooting is becoming a mainstream idea

Time magazine recently ran an article entitled “Flexible Retirements: Corporations and politicians are seeking new options for people leaving lifelong careers” (Time, May 21, 2007, p. 76).

Author Dan Kadlec says, “The whole idea of productive aging — getting an economic return on the accumulated knowledge and skills of what might be called the young old — has political steam and will probably surface on the presidential trail next year.”

The article cites four major opportunity areas for post-50 work — education, health care, nonprofits and government. Marc Freedman, who discusses these areas (and more) in his new book, Encore: Finding Work That Matters in the Second Half of Life, says all these areas have “gaping needs” for experienced workers.

To read the full Time article, click here. Also, please check the link on this site, > Resources > Finding “Good Work”, where you’ll find a description of a great booklet put out jointly by Civic Ventures, which Marc Freedman founded, and the MetLife Foundation. The booklet is entitled “The Boomers’ Guide to Good Work.” You can download it as a PDF from this link:

Rebootyou power buttonTime to retire ‘retirement?’

AARP, formerly the American Association of Retired Persons, has changed its attitude toward retirement in more than name.

In an editorial in the May/June issue of AARP The Magazine, Editor Steven Slon writes that the “foolish notion that retirement was about not working” is a thing of the past. Discussing the “seeming oxymoron” of “working retirement,” Slon notes a Rand study finding that workers 65 and older are healthier than nonworkers of the same age. “Maybe it’s time to retire the word retirement,” Slon says. “After all, it suggests a disengagement, not just from work but from life. And for those of us who remember the '60s, ‘dropping out’ is an idea that lost its appeal a long time ago.”

Back to the top

Last revised August 2007


© Copyright 2012 Callaway & Associates Inc.  |  Terms of Use  |  Disclaimer & Privacy Policy  |  Credits  |  Contact Us