Unretirement - is it for you

Unretirement – is it for you

For much of your employed life, you dreamed about not having to work.

Retirement would be great. It would stretch out for years, a horizon with no alarm clock and no deadlines. What will you do with it?

Chances are, says author Chris Farrell, believe it or not, you’ll go to work. And in his new book “Unretirement,” he says you’ll do it because you want to, not because you have to.

It’s a statistic that has some politicians very worried: within the next fifteen years, say demographers, the sixty-five-plus population of America will be nearly equivalent to the current population of New York, California, and Texas combined. That’s a lot of retirees, and a fortune paid out in benefits.

For quite some time, though, economists and pessimists have expressed doubts that Social Security will even be around then. Others bemoan the amount of retirement savings that many Baby Boomers (the age group retired or soon retiring) don’t have. According to Farrell, however, these fears ignore the fact that most Boomers are re-thinking the way retirement will work for them.

He says that Boomers’ “last third of life is being reimagined and reinvented into ‘unretirement.’” They are, for instance, looking at Social Security as a supplement, rather than a sole income – and even then, they’re putting off collecting it. That’s the way it should be, says Farrell: Social Security is sound – it only needs “some tweaks to shore up its finances for the long haul” – but because of longer lifespans and better health, retirees should be encouraged to file later, unless they absolutely can’t wait.

And those late filers? They’re seeing work in a whole different way: the rate of senior entrepreneurship is up, and so is gradual retirement. They’re staying on the job longer, are finding second (or even third) careers, or are volunteering. And despite that age discrimination can be a real issue, many workplaces have finally recognized the experience and reliability of older workers who are, in many cases, perfectly happy with part-time jobs. In short, Boomers have been “behind many changes in the workplace over the past four decades,” and they’re definitely not done.

Your IRA is fat and you like it that way. But how, when the time comes, will you use it? Read “Unretirement,” and you might have a different answer to that question.

With intriguing statistics and a thoughtful tone, author Chris Farrell pooh-poohs pundits who decry the viability of Social Security and avow the belief that retirement-resistant seniors take jobs from younger workers by showing that doom-and-gloom prophesies and myths aren’t warranted or true. Along the way, he examines healthcare and the ACA, aging, home ownership, mentorship with (and from) younger workers, the history of retirement itself, and how other countries perceive their “gray revolution.”

While I’d say that this book is absolutely for Boomers, it’s also, surprisingly, something that Gen X’ers should check out, too. If you’ve already retired, are about to, or have worked all your life so you don’t have to work someday, “Unretirement” is unmissable.

The Bookworm is Terri Schlichenmeyer. Email her at bookwormsez@gmail.com.

More in Life

The welcome sign for the City of Kenai, as seen in this city Facebook page photo.
History with a sense of humor, Part 1

The first part of a two-part collection of humorous tales gleaned from old newspapers on the central Kenai Peninsula.

Ward off Halloween’s mystical monsters with these garlic-infused cheesy shells and pepper sauce. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Tasty Halloween

Keep spooky creatures at bay with garlic-infused shells and pepper sauce.

Will Morrow (courtesy)
Let there be lights!

When I stopped in at one of our local stores, I didn’t cringe when I saw all the holiday decorations on display.

Cabbage, potatoes, salmon and an assortment of pantry staples make for a culinary challenge. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Take a culinary pop quiz

Get creative with what’s in your pantry

This undated John E. Thwaites photo, perhaps taken near Seward, shows the S.S. Dora grounded. (Alaska State Library photo collection)
Resilience of the Dora, part 3

Her long career had come to an end at last.

Nick Varney
Unhinged Alaska: Sometimes I wonder, who needs who

Dog whispers we are not. Suckers for unconditional love, you bet.

Meredith Harber (courtesy)
Minister’s Message: Don’t let termination dust bring you down

If I’m honest, this time of year is the hardest for me mentally and emotionally.

Pieces hang on display at the Kenai Art Center for the open call show on Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
‘They felt like they could share with us now’

Art center open call offers space for new artists.

The Cosmic Hamlet Entertainment film crew prepares for a new scene to roll on the set of “Bolt from the Blue” at the Kilcher Homestead on Sept. 28. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
‘Bolt from the Blue’ film features Homer

“The Office” star Kate Flannery cast in feature film produced in Homer.

These old-fashioned doughnuts don’t skimp on the fat or sugar. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Memories of old-fashioned doughnuts

My recipe is for old-fashioned doughnuts, and since I make these maybe twice a year, I don’t skimp on the sugar and fat.

Virginia Walters (Courtesy photo)
Life in the Pedestrian Lane: October is here again

The days are shorter. We are losing nearly six minutes a day. It’s getting colder.

This John E. Thwaites photo shows the S.S. Dora near Sand Point, Alaska. Thwaites sailed as mail clerk on the Dora between at least 1905 and 1912. (Alaska State Library photo collection)
Resilience of the Dora, part 2

The S.S. Dora touched lives on and became part of the history of the Kenai Peninsula and Southcentral Alaska.