Why are baby boomers rapidly retiring?


SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Baby boomers are heading into the retirement age, which means many are re-evaluating their lives.

“Since April, nationally we’ve broken a record with 4 million, 4.3 million, 4.7 million people voluntarily leaving work voluntarily,” Missouri Director of Workforce Development Dr. Mardy Leathers said. “We were trying to understand the age group there and they are overwhelmingly over the age of 60.”

Boomers are leaving the workforce for different reasons.

“Some decided to just go ahead and retire,” Springfield Director of Workforce Development Sally Payne said. “[Some were] thinking about COVID-19 health-wise. They were labeled a very at-risk population. So that could have caused them even greater concern, due to health risk than the other generations, just because they were labeled at risk.”

Payne and Leathers said many economists are calling the boomer’s retirement the silver tsunami, which is also coinciding with the great resignation. Ultimately, it has affected all generations.

“The Millennials, who were possibly counting on some of that family wealth, inheritance from the boomers, if the boomers are choosing to retire early, well then that inheritance could be depleted at a faster rate because they’re needing that income to live off of because they’re not working anymore,” Payne said.

But, there are other factors contributing to the labor shortage.

“We’re having fewer children,” Leathers said. “During the pandemic, we thought there would be a pandemic baby boom, there wasn’t. The average household size is 2.45. That’s cut down in half from the early 80s.”

“When you think about it, COVID-19 has caused really everybody no matter what generation you’re from to look at their mortality and look at what they want out of life,” Payne said. “So whether you’re a Gen Z, Millennial, Gen X, and a boomer, you’ve considered that.”

Employers are now looking for young generations to step up and fill empty spots. But, Payne said she’s not sure if there are enough people to bridge the gap.

“I don’t know if those spots are truly ever going to get filled at 100 percent, Payne said. “The generations coming up behind the Boomers, just simply there’s not enough of us to fill all of those positions.”

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