Unretirement is about to become a trend – Part 2

Deborah Wilson


In Part 1, I wrote about my perspective on unretirement. I also shared more about my personal story of working beyond 60 years old and not having any immediate plans to retire. Click here to read the article.

In Part 2, I’m focusing more on the current state of play regarding the workforce and the average person’s financial position.

What I see on the ground when engaging with people is that the after-effects of the global pandemic and current economic climate have led employed Australians approaching retirement to rethink their strategy. This is all underpinned by changes to income, rising interest rates and many people believing another 12 to 24 months in the workforce is ideal for them. For others who have struggled to maintain employment and are working casually or seeking work, retirement is no longer a realistic option.

If you are reading this article as a frustrated 60-something out of work, keep going; the wheel is turning in your favour. Remember attitude, motivation and currency of skills is super important. On the other hand, if you’re a leader in an organisation renowned for failing to truly value mature-aged workers (I’m defining mature-aged as 60+), it’s time to reassess this strategy to maximise your company’s bottom line and survival in 2023 and beyond. In 2017, for the first time in history, United Nations (UN) data confirmed that we now have four generations working together in the modern workforce. The UN estimated that by 2050, one in three people living in the developed world will be over 60.

Given the experience and adaptability exhibited by workers in their 60s, in today’s ever-changing working environment, it’s reasonable to predict that businesses need to value mature workers to succeed and thrive. If you need any more encouragement, I’d like to share some insights and excerpts from several over 60s asked, “What is your X-factor?” In other words, the talents or qualities that can assist organisations. In addition to noting their life experience, here were their responses.

Wisdom and not thinking you’re old. An enthusiasm for life and making the most of it at any age.” – Kathy, an Executive within the professional services sector

Scar tissue! I have seen most things over a long career and have learned many lessons; quite a few painful ones that I am mindful to avoid repeating!” – Peter, a Non-Executive Director on multiple boards

“Resilience! We have life skills that help us to be resilient in the face of challenges. Coaching ability; the willingness to coach others to better themselves without being as competitive.” – Jane, a Chief Executive Officer

“Enthusiasm to keep growing as a person and continuing to contribute to society.” – Bronwyn, a Non-Executive Director and Chair on numerous boards

“Wisdom, knowledge and the ability to get things done without worrying about what everyone thinks of you or your process.” – Trina, a business owner

“Awareness and comfort in knowing who you are, what you are good at, what you need assistance to do to ensure quality or excellence, and ensuring you have ‘me-time’.” – Robert, a senior public servant

Ultimately, when it comes to retirement, the time is right when the time is right; it’s your call. Perhaps it’s a great time to write your work hours and ease into retirement or back into the workforce.

Over to you: what are your concerns (if any) about retirement or unretirement?

Deborah Wilson is a Thought Leader and a Career Strategist. She takes a personalised approach to strategic career coaching and career transitions, mentoring and leadership development. Deborah provides expert guidance for individuals while supporting organisations through change and connecting people and purpose. Call Deborah on +61 403 779 746.

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