The retirement landscape is evolving.

Retirement used to be a straightforward concept—work hard for decades, save diligently, and then settle into a life of leisure. However, in recent times, the traditional notion of retirement has undergone a significant transformation. The convergence of various factors, such as the Great Resignation, Great Retirement, and Great Reentry, along with shifts in workforce dynamics, has led to a revolution in how people approach retirement planning. Individuals are redefining their paths towards a fulfilling and purpose-driven retirement.

The Great Resignation: Rethinking Priorities

The Great Resignation has been a remarkable phenomenon that has reshaped the employment landscape. For employees, the pandemic triggered a profound reassessment of priorities. 

People began prioritizing mental health, work-life balance, and job satisfaction over job security and traditional career advancements. This shift in perspective resulted in many individuals quitting their jobs in search of more meaningful and fulfilling work.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, millions of people quit their jobs in a single month in 2021. The Great Resignation has shown that the modern workforce is increasingly seeking flexibility, autonomy, and alignment with organizational values. 

As more people prioritize their happiness and well-being, they are more willing to explore alternative career paths, including freelance work and home-based businesses.

The Great Retirement: Rethinking Timing

The pandemic also accelerated the Great Retirement trend, particularly among baby boomers. Many individuals who had planned to retire in the coming years decided to seize the moment and retire earlier than expected. The wake-up call provided by the pandemic made them realize that life is too short to spend in unfulfilling or stressful jobs. As a result, the National Bureau of Economic Research reported that the pandemic pushed forward the average retirement age by 2.5 years.

For many baby boomers, retirement is no longer viewed as the end of a career. Or worse, the end of life (just look up the definition). Boomers are now considering retirement as the beginning of a new chapter filled with opportunities for personal growth, entrepreneurship, and passion projects. The desire to remain active, engaged, and continue making a positive impact in the world is the driving force behind this departure from the traditional way of thinking about retirement.

The Great Reentry: Redefining Work Relationships

As the world gradually recovers from the pandemic, we’re now witnessing the return of individuals who previously quit their jobs or retired from a career. I call it the Great Reentry. But they aren’t interested in returning to the same workforce terms and conditions. They are demanding more flexible work arrangements, better pay, and improved benefits.

Employers are acknowledging the value of reengaging experienced workers, especially retirees. Older employees possess a wealth of knowledge and expertise that can be passed on to the younger generation of workers. Companies are devising strategies to reintegrate retirees and tap into their vast experience to benefit the organization’s growth.

The Great Reentry has unveiled a new vision of retirement for women, one that goes beyond traditional notions of withdrawal and leisure. Instead, women are embracing this phase of life as an opportunity for self-discovery, purpose-driven activities, and continued growth. 

Pursuing new interests, utilizing skills in innovative ways, staying active, and contributing to society all contribute to a more fulfilling and enriching retirement experience for women in the modern era. As women continue to redefine their roles and aspirations, the Great Reentry promises a bright and empowered future for retirees.

The Rise of the Senior Entrepreneur

In light of these transformative trends, entrepreneurship among the older demographic is on the rise. The older workforce is increasingly turning towards entrepreneurship to leverage their skills, knowledge, and experience. Starting a business offers retirees an opportunity to pursue their passions, maintain financial independence, and continue contributing to society.

A study by the Kauffman Foundation revealed that individuals aged 55-64 accounted for nearly a quarter of all new entrepreneurs in the United States. These senior entrepreneurs are bringing a unique perspective to the business world, coupled with a wealth of experience that sets them apart from younger counterparts.

The traditional approach to retirement is no longer the norm in today’s rapidly evolving work landscape. The Great Resignation, Great Retirement, and Great Reentry have all played a role in transforming how individuals approach retirement planning. People are reevaluating their priorities, embracing entrepreneurship, and seeking new opportunities that align with their values and aspirations.

If you’re part of the Great Retirement phenomenon, planning to retire a few years from now, or thinking about your Great Reentry, I have some tools that might help. My Zone of Genius quiz will help you uncover your skills, talent, and interests and my upcoming Next Chapter Plan™ Academy will take you on a deep dive into discovering who you are and what you might want to be in your next chapter. Because if you’re anything like me, the real you is not the one you became in your career. You can find both here. Once you’re there, just click on the image to get started. 

Be sure to let me know what your Zone of Genius is. I’m curious. Comment on the blog or click on the Contact tab and send me an email.