The Reverse-Retirement Rate…

— From Barron’s October 16, 2017

The office retirement party — that timeless ritual celebrating the end of a person’s work life — may be losing its relevance.

According to a federal reserve board study of more than 2300 workers, a third of those who retire end up returning to the labor force — at least on a part time basis. “That’s a much higher percentage than I would have thought,” says Torsten Sløk, chief international economist at Deutsche Bank Securities in New York. “These people aren’t necessarily going back to the same job they once had, but many aren’t staying home.”

What some might also find surprising is that this so-called reverse-retirement rate is slightly higher for workers in the highest-income quantile than workers in the middle-income range.

While those in the lowest-income bracket may need to return to work because they haven’t saved enough for retirement, the more affluent have a different set of motivations, Sløk says. “They have money making skills, networks, and qualifications, and one day they get a call asking them to work on a job that might be less stressful than the one they had,” he says. “Also, life spans are getting longer, and people don’t want to spend decades just playing golf without being more fully engaged.”

A surge in older workers is also showing up in Department of Labor data. The labor-force participation rate of those 65 and older — which had declined from 27% in 1948 to a low of 10.9% in 1985 — has since climbed back to 19.6%

So the next time you toast a retiring colleague, know that you just might see him again on your evening commute.”

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