Is retirement dying? The old work model is disappearing for Boomers, Gen Xers

More Americans are opting to work well into retirement, a growing trend that threatens to upend the old workforce model. 

One in three Americans who are at least 40 have, or plan to have a job in retirement to prepare for a longer life, according to a survey conducted by Harris Poll for TD Ameritrade. Even more surprising is that more than half of “unretirees” — those who plan to work in retirement or went back to work after retiring — said they would be employed in their later years even if they had enough money to settle down, the survey showed. 

Financial needs aren’t the only culprit for the “unretirement” trend. Other reasons, according to the study, include personal fulfillment such as staying mentally fit, preventing boredom or avoiding depression. 

About 72% of “unretiree” respondents said that they would return to work once retired to keep mentally fit while 59% said it would be tied to making ends meet. 

“The concept of retirement is evolving,” said Christine Russell, senior manager of retirement at TD Ameritrade. “It’s not just about finances. The value of work is also driving folks to continue working past retirement.”

One reason for the change in retirement patterns: Americans are living longer. The share of the population 65 and older was 16% in 2018, up 3.2% from the prior year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That’s also up 30.2% since 2010.

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