People have left the workforce for many reasons in the past two years, including child care needs, layoffs, health insecurity, and personal issues that arose from the disruption caused by the pandemic. But of the people who have left and are not returning, the vast majority are older workers who chose to accelerate their retirement.
Aaron Sojourner, a labor economist and professor at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, says, “A lot of the narratives imagine prime-age workers as being missing, but it actually skews much older.”
Nearly 70% of the five million people who left the U.S. labor force during the pandemic are older than 55, according to researchers from Goldman Sachs. And many of them aren’t looking to return. Between a record high stock market and soaring home prices, people have more financial options than ever before.
Additionally, the pandemic has caused people to rethink their lives, priorities, and how they want to spend their valuable time. Needless to say, for many people, ‘working more’ doesn’t top the list.
Jill, What Can I Do? I encourage you to throw out old-school thinking. If you are financially secure, there is no reason why you have to work until you meet your country’s ‘normal retirement age’. On their death bed, nobody wishes they’d worked more. When you look back on your life, the only things that matter are… Did you spend it doing what you love? With the people you love? Were you happy? Did you learn and grow? Did you make a difference? These are the things that matter.