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Facing ‘Un-Retirement’: The Cost Of Living Is Forcing Retirees Back To Work


  • ResumeBuilder.com conducted a survey in order to find out if the inflation and supply chain issues facing the country over the past several months have prompted even more retirees to consider going back to work. 
  • What the survey found was that 69% of retirees who are un-retiring are doing so in order to combat the rising cost of living.  
  • Given the major shifts in workplace priorities over the duration of the pandemic, many un-retirees may want to take advantage of the flexibility of remote work.  

Millions of Americans who retired during the pandemic are returning to the workforce. 

As of April, 3.3% of people who were retired a year earlier are now employed, meaning about 1.7 million people “un-retired” over that time, according to Nick Bunker, an economist at Indeed.  

CNN has been asking seniors how inflation has affected their spending. For retirees who live off a fixed income, the impacts of inflation can be, and have been, major.  

KYR Survey Leaderboard Size (Allwork.Space) June 2022

According to the BMO Real Financial Progress Index, one-quarter of Americans will have to delay their retirement due to inflation.  

Putting off retirement plans is mostly due to disrupted savings from increased prices. According to the BMO survey, 36% of survey respondents have reduced their savings, and 21% are putting away less for retirement in order to keep up with growing costs. 

At the beginning of the pandemic, people began to retire in droves. Now, the rate of retired workers returning to the job market has slowly been increasing over the past year. 

ResumeBuilder.com conducted a survey in order to find out if the inflation and supply chain issues facing the country over the past several months have prompted even more retirees to consider going back to work. 

What the survey found was that 69% of retirees surveyed who are un-retiring are doing so in order to combat the rising cost of living.  

Here are some key findings: 

  • 83% of respondents who are considering un-retiring are concerned about their finances 
  • Nearly 60% are still concerned about the pandemic, though they may go back to work 
  • 39% say their expenses have increased greatly over the last three months 

One in five retirees say they are likely to return to work this year. Of this aforementioned group, 19% said they will go back to work for their previous employer, 23% of this group said they would stay in the same industry but work for a new employer, and the largest group by far, at 58%, said they would go to a different industry. 

“There is no longer a retirement age and people want to be engaged longer,” commented career consultant Stacie Haller. “Others are returning to the workplace for financial reasons, and in this new work world, there are now more options for them to return with the advent of remote work [and] more part-time work for older workers who cannot commit to a full workweek.” 

Given the major shifts in workplace priorities over the duration of the pandemic, it’s only logical that many un-retirees may want to take advantage of the flexibility of remote work.  

According to Haller, the labor shortage presents a golden opportunity for retirees seeking work.  

“The current war for talent has encouraged older workers to return as they are more welcomed than in the past and can find work to fit their needs and alleviate some or all of their financial struggles,” she said.  

In an interview with Author Dr. Carrie Root at the end of last year, she told Allwork.Space, “there are many reasons for Boomers to return. Probably as many as the reasons that they left. We are seeing inflation occur, and that will eat into retirement nest eggs. For many, retirement is also seen as an opportunity to try new things, to reinvent themselves, which a new job in a new situation would provide.” 

Age bias might be less prevalent in the workforce  

Currently, ageism might be less of a problem for older workers, as companies scramble to find experienced and reliable workers to fill job spots.  

Recruiters are reaching out to this demographic more than before due to the hunt for talent. 

Those who have talents and skills in areas where they have not previously worked can have the opportunity to use those skills now, as employers can see their years of work experience to speak to their candidacy, according to Haller.  

Despite concerns about age bias and pandemic safety, the majority of respondents who will likely un-retire this year say they are feeling at least somewhat positive about returning to the job market, with 14% stating they are feeling very enthusiastic about the change. 

Will the “un-retirement” trend continue?  

It’s unclear whether the un-retirement trend will continue, but there are signs the labor market may be starting to cool down amid moves by the Federal Reserve to decelerate the U.S. economy. 

The un-retirement rate may have returned to its pre-pandemic level, but there is the possibility that it could go even higher.  

Watching this trend in the months ahead will give a better sense of how much tighter the labor market could get and how many people can be attracted back to work by higher wages. 

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