Do you know that in the last 10 years, the number of workers over the age of 65 has doubled? Why you ask? The Baby Boomer generation is hitting retirement age with the knowledge that funding their retirement may be a problem. According to a recent Gallup poll, 64% of those surveyed said having enough for retirement was their main financial concern and are delaying retirement.

But also, these folks have positive reasons to keep working. Let me explain the good and the not so good reasons your baby boomers are sticking around. Here is a summary of the reasons I detailed in previous posts:

9 Reasons Your Baby Boomer Crew Is Sticking Around.

  • People are living longer. While that is good news, someone 60 years old today needs to plan on being around for 30 more years.
  • This also means that more people are directly involved in eldercare, with elderly parents living with them.
  • In 2001, the average 401k balance for people between 55 and 65 was $120,000. The average net worth for the same group was $170,000.
  • According to USA Today, couples retiring at 65 can expect to pay $240,000 in healthcare expense in their golden years. If you don’t have enough stashed away, that could be a problem.
  • By holding off on filing for social security beyond their full retirement date, retirees can expect the amount they will collect to increase by up to 8% every year they hold off. It’s hard to beat that as a low-risk investment these days.
  • Low interest rates are resulting in poor retirement savings earnings.
  • People are still dealing with upside-down mortgages or minimal equity. During the housing bubble prior to the great recession, a lot of people believed housing values would continue to rise to the heavens. Many refinanced to pay for home improvements, college educations and other things. Unfortunately, home values dropped, some below their mortgage debt levels. There has been a steady recovery in home values, but not to where people hoped to be at this time. Some estimates have 20% of baby boomers with are still underwater with their home mortgages or have minimal equity.
  • They may like what they do and believe it or not, like working for you. In fact they have skills they enjoy using and are proud of.
  • They like the socialization they get at work. Except for Bob in accounting, they like the people they work with and are afraid they’ll lose these friendships if they retire.

The Value Of The Baby Boomer Workforce

There are good reasons you may want to keep these folks around. Besides the issue with not having enough young people coming up behind them, these are some other reasons:

  • Low absenteeism.
  • They are settled and stable. They are no longer trying to conquer the world and are unlikely to jump ship.
  • They have a stronger work ethic, the old fashion kind.
  • Their experience. They possess wisdom and knowledge acquired over their 30-40 year careers.
  • This experience also gives them stronger industry knowledge and stronger networks.
  • Older workers tend to be solid leaders and communicators. We didn’t grow up in our careers talking through emails & text messages. We had to pick up the phone and talk to people.
  • They can be excellent mentors for your younger staff members.

Is Your Business Ready For An Older Workforce?

Your business will be faced with people delaying retirement. Are you ready?

There are potential risks that go along with an older workforce. Consider this, baby boomers are more cautious and more alert to work site risks and therefore don’t get hurt as often as younger workers. But the reality is, if they get hurt, they don’t bounce back as fast and may be out of work longer.

The bottom line is you need to take a serious look at the work environment and see if there are any risks you should deal with. Here’s a list of potential issues to look into:

  • Are there any unnecessary tripping hazards?
  • Are there any accessibility hazards such as steps that are too tall, pathways too narrow, or low lying head impact risks?
  • Can prolonged sedentary or repetitive work be minimized?
  • Are there noise issues that need to be dealt with?
  • Is lighting sufficient.
  • You may also want to minimize injury risks by promoting and providing training for health and lifestyle improvements. This could include stop-smoking, flexibility, and fitness

Having older workers around for longer than they or you have planned is a reality for most employers. It’s in your best interest to embrace this and plan ahead to make it work for you and to minimize the risks involved. If you have any questions or comments, please let me know.

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