Fortune: Baby boomers are shunning retirement to maintain purpose

An interesting article in Fortune magazine this week showed what many of us at Forward From 50 have suspected all along. Baby boomers are shunning “retirement” in order to remain actively engaged in purposeful activities.

You’ll have to get beyond one of the key sources quoted in the magazine, the CEO Of BlackRock investments. Larry Fink is famous for legislating ways to require people to give his company money in the form of 401K contributions and for further legislating ways to force those people to keep money in their accounts.

Case in point, Fink wants to raise the retirement age to 72 in order to keep people off Socialist Security in order for their money to keep accumulating in BlackRock retirement accounts. Yet, in the next breath, he expresses concern older workers are preventing younger workers from enjoying opportunities.

The article suggests the vast majority of people approach retirement without enough money in the bank. That may be true, but it doesn’t explain why baby boomers are reluctant to retire in ways society has defined retirement in the past.

There is no question it has been harder to have money leftover to save in the bank during the previous five years. Some people remain working out of economic necessity.

However, it misses completely the impact baby boomers have had on society since 1945. Perhaps, boomers have found a new way to retire, and that’s by doing things that gives their lives meaning and purpose as well as a paycheck.

In the past, people have been been content to retire and golf or fish all day. But, many people who do retire in that way find themselves bored out of their minds within six months. There is a reason most men are dead within three years of leaving their jobs which gave their lives purpose.

The article cited 74-year-old Joe Sanchez, who keeps working at his job for a pharmaceutical supply company. Not only does he like the job, it gives him a sense of purpose and great deal of financial freedom.

John Goodman, a media expert from New York, said he dreads the day he has to stop working in public relations.

“I like working, I like interacting with my clients. I don’t play golf, I don’t play tennis. I do my three miles a day to get away from the office — for me I enjoy doing it and dread retirement,” he told Fortune.

My favorite quote was from Allen Kanerva, a 69-year-old from Ontario, who works as a trauma coach.

“People who continue to work late in life, their thinking is different,” said Allen. “If you’ve got a big brain—why retire it? How would that have served humanity?

“If we’re not in service to other people, what are we doing?” he asked. “Why did we get sold on: ‘Amass enough money so you can sit on your ass for 30 years?’”


Some people are content to golf and fish all day. More power to them!

But, for those of us who know we have been given natural talents and added specialized skills as well as have a lifetime of unique experiences under our belts, retirement is more of an opportunity to throw off everything that has entangled us over the past 50 or more years.

Retirement becomes an opportunity to “….run with perseverance the race marked out for us,” as quoted in Hebrews 12:1.

The full story is available at