At the top of the list why is the anxiety about running out of money or actually not being able to have ends meet. In The Wall Street Journal Anne Tergesen presents the results of research by the Employee Benefit Research Institute.
It used to be that 85% of retirees were optimistic about their financial affairs. Currently, that's down to 80%.
What's eating at the financial self-confidence is the cost of what is broadly classified as medical care. That ranges from what's not covered by Medicare and Supplemental Insurance to long-term nursing care.
Working, even at a low-status job such as being a greeter at Walmart, guarantees a social identity. Folks at church want to know what's going on in The Big Store. Not working slaps a label on former members of the workforce. It reads: "I'm no longer interesting."
And, third is old-fashioned boredom. Work, whether for an employer or as an entrepreneur, expands horizons. What can narrow them significantly is the typical routine of the average retiree. In Oro Valley, Arizona, many of those were, well, sad.
No surprise then, "unretiring" is either happening or being considered by retirees. A poll by Reuters-Ipsos found that 30% of retirees would bounce back into the workforce if someone would hire them. Here are details.
That "if" is the flashpoint of our times. It could trigger everything from a Starbucks-like reputational crisis to suicides. Regarding the latter, in "Mullaugh v. JPMorgan," the estate of broker Michael A. Lorig is suing, claiming he committed suicide after being forced to retire.
The raw reality is this: As the concept of "retiring" becomes an anachronism, aging discrimination in hiring, promoting, and terminating is growing. According to the AARP, there's even age-creep on that. The bias can set in at age 35.
The clash between those who are aging who need or want work and companies which are blocking that could erupt into the next big business crisis. After all, just counting the Baby Boomers and GenXers, there are 121 million over-50.
That could kick off with massive boycotts in purchasing. The numbers of those participating in The Great Pocketbook Shut-Down will be the families and friends of the aging who bear witness to how they are being thrown under the bus.
ABC's David Muir could do plenty with the visuals from that.
Also, Diane Sawyer would find that material a great subject for a "20/20" special.
Business can head that off by doing self-audits of ageism or having third-parties like myself or public relations agencies parachute in.
There are many quick fixes.
For instance, instead of a help-wanted ad specifying "recent college graduate," that can be reframed as "no more than two years experience."
The over-50 who become certified in search engine optimization and have worked a few years in the field are perfect applicants. There is no business reason why they shouldn't be hired.
Another quick fix is ditching the question "How are you in technology?"
Instead, the job description mandates advanced level knowledge of Excel. That heads off legal action. And avoids what is being experienced as patronizing behavior toward older job applicants.
Here is a free book for companies to download. Chapter 3 presents a template for a self-audit Download Agesimisdiversityissue.
Jane Genova helps business rebrand as age-neutral. Complimentary consultation email@example.com.