Let’s Stop Pre-Mature Retirement Now

By Janice Gallick

There is a phenomenon occurring that is under many people’s radar screens: youthful, energetic, intelligent, contributing adults are retiring before they are ready, and often before their employers can effectively handle their mass departures. The impact of pre-mature retirement is beginning to be recognized in many organizations.

If this growing exodus is having detrimental impacts on people and organizations, why is our society and our leading organizations letting this happen? Aren’t there solutions?

In her recently published book Disrupt Aging Jo Ann Jenkins, CEO of AARP, showcases the perceived and real impact aging has on health, wealth and self. The book provides essential guidance to the 50+ age group on how as the “makers and doers” of our lives we can disrupt the pernicious story of: grow older, get sicker, worry more, lead a smaller and less fulfilling life– “And now you know the rest of the story.” (Paul Harvey, radio host).

At the Respectful Exits blog we wholeheartedly agree with Ms. Jenkins that anyone who wants to work should have the opportunity, starting with his or her current employer. In her book, she provides ideas and tools to re-write our story and change the ending. We believe that pre-mature retirement is part of stopping the old story and starting the new one.

We cheer this message and hope that AARP reaches workers 50+ and younger to continue to encourage everyone to start their own story.

The book thoroughly outlines older workers’ challenges and successfully makes the case to “disrupt” the current employer’s many misunderstandings. Ms. Jenkins debunks many myths including the “lump of labor” myth that suggests that older workers will take opportunities away from younger workers. They won’t and don’t. In place of myth she paints a compelling portrait of who older workers are. Instead of a cranky liability, she highlights the contribution and value they bring and can continue to commit to organizations well beyond the  outdated “ideal retirement age” of old.

Disrupt Aging is a must-read for all workers planning a long and productive work life. Each day 10,000 U.S. workers reach 65 – and that fact will persist until 2030. Studies show that 64% of workers or more expect to phase into retirement while a mere 5% of their employers currently offer formal programs. These numbers can’t change until employers re-tool for these dynamics and empower their employees. That is our mission at Respectful Exits.

Follow us as we examine in our next post the business transformation agenda suggested in Ms. Jenkins’ book – and a broader agenda beyond it. Climate change may or may not be an imminent threat, but the tsunami of prematurely terminated talent is already underway.  Serious change cannot wait: there is no time to waste.

Please share and encourage others to join the conversation.

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