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Delayed Retirement
Are Boomers Hogging All the Good Jobs?

Younger people are sweating as America’s largest generation opts to continue working past the traditional retirement age of 65. A recent Gallup survey finds that 49 percent of boomers still working say they don’t expect to retire until age 66 or older. According to the report, concerns about money are a strong motivation for continued employment, concerns that were forming even before the recession hit.

This all means that those in the younger generations may have to hold out a bit longer for  new jobs or promotions. Young PhDs scrambling for tenure will probably be among the hardest hit as tenured boomers hold onto those jobs; those in more demanding and physically challenging fields will be more likely to decide to hang it up. Higher-educated Millennials and Gen Xers may expect this trend to make the job market even more competitive and their career paths harder to climb.

This doesn’t mean that older people should be pushed out of the workforce. A later retirement age makes sense as older people remain healthier into their later years, and employment gives seniors a sense of purpose while also stabilizing our creaky retirement programs. The problem isn’t that older Americans aren’t retiring at the same age their parents did; rather it’s that our economy isn’t creating enough new jobs to allow both generations to coexist in the workforce.

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  • Honk

    Good points. Also, if this continues, then maybe we can raise the retirement age a little but hmm? It is time to end the war on the young.

  • Anthony

    Boomers need the Jobs! It’s not a matter of hogging for many but a matter of not being able to “afford retirement” at 66. A signal issue remains 62.8% labor force participation and secular stagnation (Wall Street adviser: actual unemployment is 37.2%….).

    • Kavanna

      More loopy monetary policies: ultralow rates starve retirees, pension funds, insurance companies, foundations, etc. But they are required to prop up government borrowing and the banks, as well as speculative frenzies in the capital markets. Those are the Fed’s real mandates, BTW.

      • Anthony

        Kavanna, no disagreement from me (with one caveat – too many heads in sand).

  • charlesrwilliams

    It should not be a zero sum game. Unfortunately the economy is still in the deep freeze, adjusting to the low growth, low labor-force participation economy that results from Obama’s micro-economic policies. In the Obama economy when a person delays retirement, his replacement waits. In a healthy economy, when old people delay retirement, employment expands to accommodate both the old and the young. It is the job creation process that is not functioning and this is a direct result of gov’t policy.

    • rheddles

      Mr. Williams is correct except in his use of the subjunctive. It IS NOT a zero sum game. Too many millenials do not have the skills or motivation needed for the jobs available and employers have too many disincentives to hire anyone. There are a lot of reasons for that, but boomers keeping their jobs is not one of them.

  • Andrew Allison

    Surely you jest? The fact of the matter is that the boomers are taking early retirement in record numbers. This explains both the discrepancy between what boomers still working plan and what’s actually occurring and the impending collapse of Social Security.

  • Anthony

    Some brilliant mathematician once said liars figure and figures lie; record numbers (within what context), come now. Assertions are easy but real context and hard facts require more than sitting at keyboard. Illusion/delusion remains elixir for the hedgehog generational ideologue. Looking at the what instead of the how may fit predilection but ignores reality at own peril.

  • TommyTwo

    I appreciate the allure of a provocative headline, but as you yourself acknowledge, it is highly misleading. An accurate headline would be: “Our economy isn’t creating enough new jobs.”

    (By the way, good luck to anyone over 40 looking for a programming job.)

  • bigfire

    Unlike the WWII generation, Boomers sucked at retirement planning (not saying much, my generation Gen X sucked even more). That and the last 2 stock market / property boom/bust have seriously eroded their nest egg. So, they do have to work longer to ensure the continuation of the lifestyle they’ve grown accustomed to.

  • Kavanna

    The problem isn’t mainly Boomers simply working longer. On this score, I agree with TommyTwo: the economy simply isn’t creating enough jobs. Companies are hoarding cash, not hiring or investing, but using cash to play games with M&A, dividends, and stock buybacks. This is an effect (misallocation of resources); the causes are loopy monetary and credit policies, and a continuing explosion of regulation.

    There’s also the issue that, as a group, the Millennials don’t have the same education and skills that
    their parents have. At the same time, they’re burdened with
    much higher debts as they start adult life.

    Of course, some areas that are sensitive to demographics, like education, the number of jobs will shrink anyway. Boomers holding on here are creating a direct problem for Millennials.

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