With half of Baby Boomers delaying retirement longer than previously thought, and a stunning 82 percent saying it is at least "somewhat likely" they'll return to work after retirement, Millennials are starting to squirm.
The AP-NORC Center recently surveyed more than a thousand Americans over the age of 50, and it's now quite clear that Boomers' plans to retire at 55 or 60 are being redrawn. A few even used the words "never" and "retire" in the same sentence. In many ways, the 2008 financial crisis is to blame; workers are still hastening to replace their gutted 401(k) safety nets. Interestingly, though, these "never-retires" are also reporting high levels of career satisfaction. If you love your job and are healthy enough to do it, why retire?
These stats continue to distress Millennials, especially in an economy that isn't exactly pumping out high-paying, full-time, "career-worthy" jobs. Many Millennials feel that if baby boomers would just retire, their own job prospects would improve. (This is a common complaint; it even makes an appearance in the Old Economy Steven meme, at right).
What makes sense as a balanced equation, though, doesn't necessarily hold water in the real-world economy. In Australia, some economists think a wave of baby boomer retirement (and subsequent shrinkage of the labor force participation rate) will help stifle unemployment for at least the next decade. Yet here in the States, a 2012 Pew Charitable Trusts study suggests just the opposite.
According to the study, entitled When Baby Boomers Delay Retirement, Do Younger Workers Suffer?, "a one percentage point increase in the employment rate among older workers is associated with a decline in youth unemployment of 0.10 percentage points, an increase in youth employment of 0.21 percentage points, and an increase in hours worked per week of 0.13 percentage points." In this case, youth workers are defined as being between 20 and 24 years old. A "similar pattern" apparently emerged when focusing on the relationship between Boomer employment and the prime working aged population (between 25 and 54). Conclusion? The blame shouldn't be shifted onto an aging generation whose continued employment is actually helping young workers find jobs, earn more money, and snag more hours.
The study does, however, acknowledge that Millennials have been "greatly affected" by the global economic downturn -- another phenomenon they blame their parents for, like in the video below. Inter-generational finger-pointing, anyone?