Returning to the Work Force

"When I retire, I'm going to move to a tropical island, sit on the beach with a drink in my hand, and do nothing but soak up the warm sun all day."

Some people who haven't retired yet have a skewed concept of what it will be like.

Return to work imageGeralt/Pixabay

Take it from a retired person, it's not all beaches and sunshine. It's not living on easy street without a care in the world. And it's certainly not without its moments of wondering if you made the right decision.

Don't get me wrong, the honeymoon period is great. It's a time to relax and decompress. All is right with the world during this phase of retirement. Eventually, though, the thought will hit you: "What have I done?" Don't fret, you're not alone. We all go through it. Retirement remorse is more prevalent than you might expect.

Many Retirees are returning to the work force.

Here's a sobering statistic I came across the other day: a study I was reading says one-third of men who retire eventually go back to work. I can't imagine that, but it's true. It's been termed "Reverse-Retirement."

It seems a good percentage of those who say they plan to retire don't, at least not in the traditional way our fathers thought of retirement.

The study on retirement was conducted by the Federal Reserve Board. It came up with some interesting statistics. One surprising bit of information within the framework of Reverse-Retirement shows a high percentage of men were re-entering the workforce due to what is being termed "Burnout-Recovery."

Most people would assume the main reason so many are returning to work would be lack of needed income, but as the study concludes, that turns out to be a false assumption.

Here's the breakdown by the numbers:

38.2 percent said they left the workforce because they retired only to discover they didn't like being retired, or they didn't look at retirement in the traditional way of the previous generation. They held the belief that retirement didn't necessarily mean a total work stoppage. A full 80 percent of this group planned to return to work at some point in the future.

I'm guessing they're taking advantage of the Social Security system, which allows a retired person to make a certain amount of monthly income before SS starts to deduct from their benefits. It's one way to boost your monthly income while you're still working.

23.5 percent left because they were either laid off or the company they worked for closed their doors. They re-entered when they were able to find another job.

17.4 percent left the workforce due to health reasons and returned when their health improved.

11.9 percent left the workforce due to what they described as burnout.

The remainder had a variety of reasons for leaving work.

There were a lot of different factors taken into account in this study, including income levels. Those in lower income brackets tended to return to work because of the need for more income. Those in higher income brackets tended to be returning to work force due to a less stressful job offer.

What I don't see in this study is the retirees' lack of proper retirement planning. I'd like to know the percentage of reverse-retirement men who go back to work because there was a flaw in the financial aspect of their initial retirement plan.

Maybe they underestimated the amount of money they would need to budget each month.

Perhaps they didn't plan on needing to have some sort of hobby to keep themselves busy and they got bored.

Could it be they didn't account for the fact that they needed to be active? They found themselves sitting on the couch or in front of their computer all day and the novelty of doing nothing was wearing thin and getting rather boring."

Then, there are those who just need to have a little structure in their lives. Once they left the workforce, their structured life was suddenly gone and they floundered without it. Going back to work was a less stressful option compared to being home all day, fending for themselves.

One other reason that isn't talked about much is the fact that some may have come to the sudden realization that they didn't like the idea of being around their spouse all day, seven days a week. Being at work and away from the house was their escape mechanism. They didn't realize it at the time, but once they figured it out, they rethought their decision and went back to work.

The report is interesting and does offer some insight, but I felt it could have gone a little deeper.

If you're interested, you can find this report here.


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