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The First Wave of Boomers Hit 60: What It Means to You and the American Workplace
Dr. Greg Ketchum, 01/07/06
2006 is barely a few days old and already
a major milestone has been reached with the
first wave of Baby Boomers turning 60 on January
1st. There are approximately 78 million Boomers
born between the years 1946 and 1964. They’ve
had such a huge impact on each stage of life
in that their generation is two to three times
larger than the generations that preceded or
followed them. Consider these numbers to see
why the first wave of Boomers turning 60 is
such a big story.
- Approximately 25% of today’s workforce
will leave the workplace by the year 2010
creating an enormous loss of skills and knowledge.
- In the next 7 years the number of workers
between the ages 35 and 44 will shrink by
- 330 people in the US will turn 60 each
hour in 2006. 10,000 Boomers turn 50 every
Now, we Boomers have redefined each stage
of life as we’ve gone through it and
the first wave of Boomers hitting retirement
age is no different. Consider these statistics
from “The Merrill Lynch New Retirement
Survey” on how Boomers plan to approach “retirement” differently
from their predecessors.
- 76% of Boomers plan to continue working
past the traditional retirement age.
- 56% plan to enter a whole new career in
their early sixties.
- 13% say they plan to start their own businesses
The Biggest Change
biggest way Boomers will revolutionize retirement
is rather than seeing it as the ending of their
work life they see it as a new beginning in
their lives. It means the freedom to choose
what type of work to do next, how to bring
more meaning into their lives, going back for
more education and the opportunity to pursue
long-held dreams that had to be put off due
to the needs to have families and build careers.
What Does The First Wave of Boomers
Turning 60 Mean to You?
- For Boomers: It’s time to
start planning what’s next in your
work life on your own terms. Specifically,
- how you can parlay your current job into
a consulting opportunity or part-time work.
- the new career you want to start or new
business you want to create.
- the education you want to pursue.
- For Younger Workers: It’s
- Find a “boomer mentor” either
someone in your field or someone you admire
for the way they’ve managed their
- Consider going into one of the fields
that will grow due to Boomers reaching
retirement age such as health care, education
and businesses that cater to part-time
workers and entrepreneurs.
Finally, remember that during the Gold Rush
in 1849 the people who were selling shovels
and picks and other tools and supplies that
enabled people to launch their new careers
as miners did pretty well for themselves, in
fact better than many of the miners.
®2006 All rights reserved. Gregory
A. Ketchum, Ph.D.