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Thursday, December 16, 2021

"Great Resignation" or "Great Retirement"?

Over 10 years ago, I wrote Will the Baby Boomers Ever Retire? in response to an article predicting tremendous retirements among financial professionals in "three to five years".

Here is a quote from early in post:

"Today is March 17th, 2011. The funny thing is, I've been hearing about mass retirements in the next "three to five years" since the 1990s."

My overall conclusion/prediction was: 

"So what's going to happen? Will there be a "tremendous number" of retirements in "three to five years"? I don't know for sure, but I don't think so. Of course the Boomers will all eventually retire or die but I think they'll go by attrition rather than en masse. Most of the Boomers I know simply do not have the resources to retire any time soon. Some will be forced to retire when their health fails. Others might get a nice inheritance along the way and decide that they finally have the resources to retire. Others will work well into their 60's and even their 70's either because they have to or they just plain want to."

For several years, I think that my prediction held up well. 

Then Covid-19 came.

We're hearing a lot about the "Great Resignation" and the depleting labor force. However, this article makes the argument that it's not a general abandonment of the labor force. Instead, it's driven by retirement

"Last month, there were 3.6 million more Americans who had left the labor force ... compared with November 2019. ... Older Americans, age 55 and up, accounted for whopping 90% of that increase."

There is disagreement on exactly where the line is between the Boomers and GenX, but most demographers put it somewhere between 1964 and 1966. In other words, "age 55 and up" pretty much catches the tail end of the Boomers.

After 25 years of "three to five year" predictions, it looks like the Boomer are finally retiring.


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