Now is the time for baby boomers to love work

Veteran career advisor Reiner Lomb – himself a baby boomer – tells us that he hears boomers express a greater emphasis to continue working beyond retirement age and to do work with personal purpose and passion.  We agree completely with him.  He’s what he shares.

Many Boomers would like to change to a career with more passion and purpose, but they are held back for similar reasons. Some of the typical statements I hear include:

  • “I am too old to start over in a new career.”
  • “People won’t pay for the work I am passionate about.”
  • “A new career wouldn’t allow me to make nearly as much income as I make now.”
Stock Image of Wood worker.

Woodworking — creating something of beauty with one’s hands.

When I probe deeper, I often find that the underlying reason for these concerns is the fear of jeopardizing a financially secure retirement.

I don’t want to play down the financial risk of a career change. I can fully understand why anyone would decide to stay in their career or job because of this fear. However, a person who has found a career that brings joy and fulfillment often has no wish to retire and continues in his or her career beyond that person’s expected retirement age. When this happens, it totally changes how someone can financially plan for retirement, adding years of income not originally planned for. This can alleviate the fear of jeopardizing a financially secure retirement.

This happened to me. Around the time I turned 50, I had the following dilemma to consider: either continue working for another 10 to 15 years in my old career to ensure a financially secure retirement, or change to a new career that is better aligned with my passion and purpose. After a period of struggling with this question, I finally decided to change to a new career in my mid-50s. Having rediscovered passion and purpose in my work, I realized that my wish to retire had suddenly disappeared. I felt liberated by this realization because the future suddenly was open to new possibilities.

I have seen a similar effect with many of my clients, who were in their 50s and 60s, and for some even in their 70s. They had dreamed of their retirement only to find this dream change once they were in new careers better aligned with their passion and purpose. Their wish to retire had gone away.

Observing this effect, it is not surprising that:

  • Nelson Mandela became president of a new South Africa at the age of 75,
  • Peter Drucker, described as the “founder of modern management,” wrote the majority of his books after his 75th birthday,
  • Stephen Hawking, cosmologist, at the age of 73, has no plans to retire, and
  • Gloria Steinem, at the age of 80, continues to work on issues of equality and social justice, and recently said, “The idea of retiring is as foreign to me as the idea of hunting.”
Reiner Lomb

Reiner Lomb

What a loss if they had retired at the age of 65!

And what a loss if the millions of boomers who wish to contribute to a better society were held back by their golden handcuffs, rather than transitioning to careers to make those contributions now!

So when a retired friend recently asked me, “You must be thinking about retiring soon, aren’t you?” I replied without any hesitation, “I don’t want to retire EVER!”

To learn more about how to align your career with what you truly care about while reducing the risk involved in making that change, you may want to look at my book: The Boomerang Approach.

8 Comments

  1. “fear of jeopardizing a financially secure retirement”. That’s Me! (I will be 60 in April)
    ..but a change of career is what I need. Great Article!

    1. I wish a Happy Birthday. It sounds like a good opportunity to reflect on a new career. Please feel free to reach out if I can help you in any way. Thank you for your nice comment.

  2. As a physician who has retired, I agree completely with this article. I retired and turned to my passion of writing. My first book, The Boomer Survivor Kit, has already been published and I am currently working on my second and third books. I encourage people to make the switch. Life becomes so much more rewarding!

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