Retired Senior Adults 50+ Returning to Work Per WSJ Podcast
May 5, 2022
by Michael Yublosky
Monday’s episode of The Journal podcast was titled “How Inflation is Causing Americans to ‘Unretire.” This is a topic I have written about here on several occasions.
Co-host Kate Linebaugh interviewed two retirees Veronica Primus who enjoys being “free of the institutional requirements” and Bruce White. Harriet Torry also added some of her insights on the economy during the podcast.
With current inflation at the highest level in 40 years or so, Veronica (a retired school teacher) is beginning to make cutbacks even in the basic necessities such as affording gas, grocery shopping, clothing, etc. as well as in going out to eat less often. She admits it is somewhat embarrassing seeking assistance since she’s well educated and was a professional.
“Inflation is hitting many retired people hard, so hard that hundreds of thousands are going back to work,” Kate remarked. Harriet added that people assumed the low interest rates which existing prior to the COVID pandemic would continue, which is not the recent case. Many retirees are therefore reconsidering their decisions and may be forced to return to the workforce.
These statistics are just starting to appear in the government data. The percentage of those over 55 years of age both returning to work as well as looking for jobs has statistically crept up since last October. This could be well over 500,000 people. This is considerable more than those who re-entered the labor market before COVID.
Some of the reasons senior adults have returned to work after retiring include boredom, need for structure, seeking a new life’s purpose or a quest for new opportunities.
But some are forced to due to the economic pressure caused by inflation. This is especially true for those living on a fixed income which does not increase in line with inflationary costs.
Bruce admitted that he might have to shift his strategies based on current (and future) conditions. He worries that his savings might run out over the next few decades. So at 64 years of age and after being retired for a year or so, Bruce decided to look for a job. He’s worried about ageism but may be in a good position because of his specialty and the lack of qualified people to fill those positions. He is also prepared to relocate if needed.
Veronica, on the other hand, is not considering un-retiring and going back to work full time. Instead she would entertain doing a “side hustle.” She understands that she should have saved more and planned better. She said “with the higher price…it’s more difficult to live those golden years that you would think that you could.” It’s frustrating for her but she is optimistic that she’ll b able to find a way to enjoy life.
Listen to the entire podcast by clicking here.
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