Boomers' Encore Careers: Opportunity or Loss?

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Boomers, the generation born between 1946 and 1964, are redefining the path from working to retirement. They are planning on working longer than previous generations with many embracing so-called "encore careers" which typically see highly experienced Boomers using their skills in creative or socially-minded roles.

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The successes of Boomers who've embraced second careers contrasts with the issues faced by some of their contemporaries. Despite having one of the lowest unemployment rates, currently 4.5%, unemployed people in their 50s and 60s are likely to be out of work for longer than younger Americans.

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Top tips for people over 50 who are out of work and job hunting often include omitting references which indicate their age from applications as well as embracing LinkedIn. Meanwhile the Internet is full of stories of Boomers like Michael Duffy, from Eden Prairie, Minn., who, after being laid off, went from earning six figures to working at Starbucks for less than $10 per hour.

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So, what's going on? Do Boomers have an unparalleled opportunity to reshape the route to retirement or are they facing spending the last years of their working lives in the shadow of underemployment?

Why Are Boomers Delaying Retirement?

Almost half of the Boomer generation who are still working say that they expect to retire after 65, and a tenth say that they never expect to retire. While this is in line with a steadily increasing retirement age since the '90s, the reasons behind it are complex.

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