It is no secret that the economy is suffering from a lack of workers since the pandemic took ahold of the country 18 months ago. There are many reasons for this, mainly because of the fact that many Baby Boomers are retiring. Without the wisdom of this age group and the myriad of lessons they can teach the younger workers, the country is falling further behind in terms of worker skill levels.
Why Boomers are Retiring
In a time when America needs the wisdom and insight of its seasoned workers, Baby Boomers are leaving their jobs for a variety of reasons. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “More than 1 million older workers have exited the workforce since COVID-19 struck the US in February 2020.” Psychologist Anthony Klotz has coined this the “Great Resignation”.
So why are older workers leaving in a “Great Resignation”? Clearly the risk of the coronavirus itself is a big reason, especially for people in this age group who may have preexisting conditions. The Los Angeles Times reported, “Roughly 1.5 million Americans cited COVID-19 as the main reason they stayed out of the labor force in August. That count held flat from July levels.” Others have chosen to retire earlier than they might have because of family, medical, or other personal reasons.
Besides the medical reasons, some Baby Boomers realized it was time to retire when their time at home quarantining became a fast track towards their retirement. At a point where quality of life is important, they re-ignited old hobbies or started enjoying new ones, even as they realized that retirement income goes a lot farther when you don’t have commuting costs, lunch, and business attire to consider. And speaking of money, according to Business Insider, “Soaring stocks also made more people rich enough to retire. The number of 401(k) and individual retirement accounts holding at least $1 million soared to a record 754,000 in the second quarter of 2021, Fidelity said in an August report, up 75% from the year-ago level.”