Updated November 13, 2013

Baby Boomer Statistics: Not Riding into the Sunset

Many Still Like the Working Life; A New Chapter for the Baby Boom

As young adults, Baby Boomers changed the face of college campuses. Later, they helped bring American workplaces into the era of high technology and casual dress codes. Today, the generation is changing what it means to retire.

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Infographic: Baby Boomer Statistics
Infographic: Baby Boomer Statistics © CreditDonkey

For many boomers, work is a way of life, and in their minds, there’s no reason to stop just because they’ve reached age 65. Modern technology makes balancing work and leisure far easier than it was 20 years ago; they can fire off a few emails from the beach or the grandkids’ soccer game and head into the office only when face-time is a real necessity.

Many employers are thrilled to carve out special arrangements for their older workers, perhaps keeping them on part-time so their younger colleagues can benefit from their experience and knowledge of the business. Employees who can’t set up that kind of arrangement may still be able to work out a schedule that fits their lives, working as a consultant or freelancer in the field they know and love.

Then again, some older workers may be looking for a change – or have had to move on because of age discrimination or cutbacks. With kids out of the house and a mortgage paid off, some may find it’s a perfect time to pursue that dream they put aside years ago, such as opening a bakery or writing children’s books. Even those who quit working entirely may choose to volunteer for local organizations or go back to school. Some organizations, like Encore.org, are solely devoted to helping boomers find a new path helping others.

Women in this age group are in a particularly interesting position. The feminists and businesswomen of the boomer generation didn’t just change the gender balance of workplaces in the 1970s and 1980s –they changed the definition of a career, one that is fluid and flexible. Many women spent years in a profession, stayed home with children for months or years, and went back to work part time, or at a different company, or in an entirely different field. The effect has been long-lasting – Baby Boomers are the last generation to remember a time when men were usually the only workers in their house and life-long employer loyalty was common.

For these professionals, retirement may be less the end of a career than just another shift in focus. Of course, not everyone wants to spend their golden years hard at work. When it comes to travel, recreation, and kicking back and enjoying the latest electronic goodies, Baby Boomers have plenty of options. And, just as they have for decades, marketers are targeting the generation. You’d be hard-pressed to find a cruise operator or RV dealership that isn’t thinking about its strategy for selling to the huge new crop of retirees. Moreover, some nonprofit programs focus on offering new experiences to people in this demographic, like Road Scholar, which offers everything from bike tours of Ontario’s wineries to barge trips along the Mekong River through Cambodia and Vietnam.

Whether you’re looking to get the most out of your travel experiences, or to keep your options for work and volunteering wide open, it helps to be smart about your money. Check out the best credit cards 2013 to find the credit card that helps maximize your rewards and minimize fees and charges.

(Graphic Research by Ashyia; Graphic Design by Santosh; Graphic Editing by Maria; Writing by Livia; Editing by Sarah)

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