expect to keep working past traditional retirement age,
and continue working in some capacity even after they
retire from their main careers, according to a new
than half (53 percent) said they expect to work past age
65 or to not retire at all, and 56 percent report they
will work after retirement, according to the annual
survey out this month from the Transamerica Center for
Retirement Studies. Nearly half envision a phased
retirement, in part involving work that is less
demanding or that brings greater personal satisfaction.
More than a quarter envision doing volunteer work.
all those work-minded dreams, however, the cold reality
is that many older workers are already jobless.
long-term unemployment rate this fall for job seekers 55
and older was 35 percent, compared to 24 percent for
those 16 to 54," said Maria Heidkamp, director of
the New Start Career Network at Rutgers University,
which offers programs to help workers polish job-hunting
skills. Long-term jobless workers, defined as those out
of work longer than six months, are still facing a tough
environment, she said. "Our job seekers aren’t
looking for part-time work, they’re figuring out how
to keep paying the mortgage and replenish their depleted
a perfect world, of course, they could pay the bills and
find work they find fulfilling or that addresses an
important social need.
that’s unrealistic? Consider these dreamers, who have
experienced their share of financial setbacks but went
on to be winners of the Purpose Prize, an AARP program
that awards $50,000 to people age 50-plus who create
solutions to social problems:
Weaver, 53, worked in community development, then
pivoted in his early 40s to become a professor of public
health and now is hoping to expand his Atlanta-based
group, Weaver and Concerned Citizens of Aiken/Atlanta
Now, to become a national charitable organization.
organizes intergenerational teams of volunteers to go
into communities in need and provide cleanup services
after natural disasters, plant community gardens and
perform other tasks. He solicits donors to provide
transportation for the volunteers, and volunteers in
turn pay for their other expenses. Expanding the group
to be a national charitable organization would provide
Weaver’s next career pivot, he said, and he’s
currently pitching a sponsor on developing the
organization. If the idea fails, he’ll fall back on
public health consulting.
not retired, but I’m not working for pay right now and
with three kids, that $50,000 went pretty fast," he
said. "Doing this kind of work, you have to
understand there are going to be bumps along the
retiring from a long career as a senior executive with
consumer products companies, James Farrin, 81, lost more
than half his retirement savings – his entire
inheritance from his father – on an entrepreneurial
second chances would prove to be a lasting theme in
Farrin’s life. He made all the money back on another
venture, and later couldn’t resist when he was invited
to co-found and become executive director of the Petey
Greene Program, an organization that provides tutors for
prison inmates. The program’s goal is all about
creating second chances, by reducing recidivism and
other societal costs of incarceration through helping
inmates educate themselves for future jobs.
non-profit gig was a way to give back that has improved
Farrin’s retirement dramatically by providing him a
sense of purpose and gratitude, he says.
father always taught me to never, ever give up,"
Farrin said. "When I lost his inheritance, people
came up to me asking what I thought my father (by then
deceased) would say if he knew about it. I told them he
would have said, ‘You gave it a great try and I’m
proud of you.’"