Baby boomers are increasingly growing disillusioned about going back to the office.
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Approximately 2.7 million Americans age 55 or older are thinking about calling it quits on their careers much earlier than expected because they are experiencing “Covid-19 fatigue” and can afford to exit early with rich retirement accounts.
As Bloomberg notes, those who are pondering over an early retirement consist of mostly affluent white Americans. And financial advisors told the publication that they believe that the well-off are thinking about retiring early as a result of having a “life is short” mentality.
The idea of going back to the office following more than a year of working from home will be “a really tough pill for a lot of people to swallow,” Kenneth Van Leeuwen, founder of New Jersey-based financial services firm Van Leeuwen & Co., told the publication.
In fact, a report from the Pew Research Center last year revealed an increase in the number of baby boomers who said they were retired compared to previous years (1.2 million more than the historical annual average, to be exact).
One Minnesota resident, 58-year-old Craig DiLorenzo, told Bloomberg that he left his job at industrial corporation 3M Co. in March after feeling exasperated over being part of 6 a.m. teleconferences and having a cancer scare five years ago. DiLorenzo said he found himself spending more time about pursuing his other passions — including volunteering at the Salvation Army — and that staying home last year only reinforced his desire to leave.
“It makes you think, ‘Does all this matter as much as you think it does?’” he said.
Retiring has been made easier for baby boomers thanks to a huge surge in shares and home values during the recession. Assets for Americans between the ages of 55 and 69 reportedly spiked by $4.2 trillion last year, including a $2.2 trillion increase in corporate equities and mutual fund shares and a $250 billion uptick in the value of private businesses.
As the number of retirements among baby boomers has swelled, however, so too has the need for labor. The loss of older workers will negatively impact the labor market because those particular workers “have strong productivity, lower absenteeism and they can train and mentor newcomers,” Susan Weinstock, AARP’s vice president of financial resilience programming, told Bloomberg.
“Older workers are especially strong in soft skills — things that develop over time and are difficult to teach,” she said.
Still, it appears that many baby boomers are prioritizing themselves first — and with good reason.
“I’ve seen so many people who have decided to wait too long to retire — many of my colleagues or older family members — and they get one year of retirement and get sick and pass on,” Melissa Marteney, who retired from her job at the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation this year at the age of 58, told Bloomberg. “I don’t want that.”