3 Indisputable Facts That Drive Boomers to “UN-Retire”

UnretirementBoomers are redefining retirement and it’s looking more like “un-retirement.” Whatever you do, pills don’t tell a boomer that they are no longer relevant, mind that it’s time to slow down and move over for the next generation. According to Stats Canada, 66% of boomers who are currently working want to do more of what they love and that include work.  Un-retirement is also the perfect time to pursue long-forgotten dreams passions.  

In previous generations, retirees continued to be active in their own communities and their extended families. Today, boomers see their community more globally and often live away from family or move to new communities once they retire or slow down their work schedules.  They stay involved as grandparent and in their own unique way. Only a generation ago the experience of retirement was very different. Men worked at one, maybe two companies their entire career, got the gold watch and retired at age 65. Since most women were stay-at-home moms, their everyday routine did not experience as much of a dramatic shift when they hit 65. The typical working boomer is male or female, on his or her 3rd or 4th career and has worked for at least as many companies.  For the first time, women are experiencing a major transition when they stop working and they have few role models to provide guidance on making the transition. Three indisputable facts beg for a new definition of retirement to be written.

  1. Boomers are living longer and healthier. With constant advances being made in medicine, life expectancy continues to rise. Boomers can expect to live well into their 80’s or 90’s.  Where retirement used to signal the beginning of the decline of health in previous generations, today it signals a re-birth of opportunities. Boomers see retirement as having 3 distinct stages. The first stage is very active where old passions are re-ignited and pursued. The second stage remains semi-active where boomers continue to contribute to society in very meaningful ways. The final stage signals the time to slow down, but by no means signals the end of their contribution to society.
  2. Boomers are working longer. With limited financial resources, big dreams and a longer life span, boomers are rethinking their financial plans to support their retirement lifestyle. A number of boomers only realize after they’ve retired that they cannot afford to retire. Boomers also want to work as a way to stay active, connected and challenged. This likely means a combination of work and leisure. With a looming shortage of young workers to replace the bulge of retiring boomers, organizations are struggling to fill the void and are slowly beginning to embrace this generation as a practical source of high quality, experienced labour.  But this trend will take time to be fully realized until the outdated perception of “as you age you’re less valuable” changes.
  3. Boomers have long lists of unfinished business and long bucket lists. They are charting new courses and no longer see retirement as the swan song of their life. Instead, they see it as a transition point where opportunities to re-imagine their life, try new things, take risks, embark on a different journey or start a new career abound.  Boomer idealism is very much alive, albeit tempered with a dose of wisdom. The most important question for boomers is “what’s possible?” They want to take dream trips, start new businesses, work, volunteer in foreign countries, and be fully involved with their grandchildren.

There are few benchmarks and many possibilities to define retirement on new terms. The boomer bucket list of things to accomplish is long and it has changed. It is no longer a list of honey-do items, shows to watch, lawn bowling and bingo night. Rather it is filled with dreams and passions to pursue; once shelved because of work and family commitments. There are new languages to learn, new places to experience, new challenges to take, all of which will keep boomers living longer and healthier. Boomers are un-retiring in droves and that’s good for the psyche, the economy and all of society. It also keeps in step with the classic definition of this generation – “the re-inventors of everything.”


As a Coach and through her company, Dianne help individuals reach peak performance by actively discovering, designing and directing meaningful activities that address the continual transitions in their personal and professional lives.


Written by

Dianne Gaudet is a certified Coach who is passionate about helping her clients manage the dynamics of continual life transitions as they reach new heights of personal and professional success. Helping Boomers create rich and inspired lifestyle plans for the retirement life they want is one of her greatest joys. Dianne is the author of a new book, If There Are No Limits... A guide to living with passion, purpose and possibilities. She is also a motivational speaker, teacher and world traveller.