Tamara Erickson has produced a book that challenges the accepted wisdom and society's expectation for those aged fifty something - Baby Boomers. It suggests alternatives to retirement for this generation (those born 1946 - 1964) as they approach the traditional end of their working lives. In Retire Retirement she suggests that with improved longevity and healthcare most will have another 20 or more years of active life.
The first part of Retire Retirement is an analysis of the changing demographics and the impact on the job market. It is often suggested that with falling birth rates there will not be enough people in the workforce to provide the pensions of longer lived retirees. Erickson shows that such thinking may well be flawed as it will create a need for employers to retain skills in the workplace.
This will create an opportunity for the older worker to adopt a new approach to what were traditionally retirement years. There will be an opportunity to stay in the workforce, to start new careers or businesses or to have a more phased move into retirement. There are signs that many people are already working beyond their sixties. Erickson makes the point that traditionally people only had a few years of retirement but the boomer generation of the same age can look forward to 20 or 30 years of healthy, active life. Many will be active well into their 90s.
After considering the changing demographics Erickson examines the need to challenge traditional expectations and what the various generations require from work.
This requires the baby boomer to examine their needs, both financial and lifestyle, in the context of the analysis set out in the first part of the book. This will require both the individual and employers to challenge their long held assumptions about the nature of work and careers.
Having created a new frame of reference Erickson guides the individual in considering the options open to them. Instead of retirement there is now an opportunity to take on fresh challenges, even do things that may not have been possible because of family responsibilities. With a potential 20 or more years in a new career it will be possible to justify investment in training.
Because of the changing demographics employers are going to find it increasingly difficult to maintain a skilled workforce. This creates an opportunity to negotiate a new deal with employers that provides more flexible jobs for those who wish to continue working in existing or related careers.
Retire Retirement points out that a traditional career from say 25 to 55 is the same length as a second career from 55 to 85 - with improved longevity an entirely viable possibility. Erickson sets out an approach to developing a completely new career of lifestyle. The main steps are
Along the way this book also sets out some of the more detailed options that the reader might consider.
Tamara Erickson has produced a considered analysis of the changing workforce. She provides positive suggestions for taking advantage with a how-to guide for planning an alternative to traditional retirement. Retire Retirement also gives hope and alternative strategies to employers as they find it increasingly difficult to recruit and retain staff with skills and experience.
The reader should not be put off by the superficially academic style of the book with its graphs and charts. Retire Retirement is a very readable and encouraging book especially for those who have had their retirement plans compromised by the impact on their investments of the Credit Crunch.
Retire Retirement, Career Strategies for the Boomer Generation (ISBN: 978-1-4221-2059-0) by Tamara Erickson is published in 2008by Harvard Business Press at $19.95 for the hardback.
First appeared on Suite101