Older workers and the Great Resignation

June 29, 2022

older worker

It’s all over the news — what’s being touted as “the Great Resignation,” consisting of a high number of workers who have decided to move on from their current jobs to greener pastures. While just about every demographic is represented in some way, it’s by and large younger workers who are leaving their jobs during this exodus.1

Why are people leaving their jobs?

A recent survey found three primary reasons people have been resigning: low pay, lack of career advancement opportunities and feeling disrespected.1 Childcare issues also played a role in many cases.1

The survey also discovered that younger adults and those with lower incomes were more likely to leave their jobs in 2021.1 With younger adults generally working lower-paying or entry-level jobs, some of which may not be the most worker-friendly, it makes sense that younger people may be more likely to hit the road for something else.

The difference for older workers

When a runner is close to the finish line, will they want to call it quits and start the race over? Older workers nearing retirement could find themselves losing out on many financial benefits and giving up what security they have by walking out the door and starting anew somewhere else, whether they’re unhappy with their current role or not.

It appears some older workers are delaying leaving the workforce altogether, thanks in large part to the uncertainties brought about by the pandemic. Another recent survey found that a quarter of participants ages 45 and older said the pandemic has made them delay retirement plans, with that number increasing to 30 percent for respondents ages 65 and older.2

Close to half of those surveyed noted fears of market volatility and outliving their income in these turbulent times.2

Yet another survey, conducted by AARP, found that some Americans over age 50 who are nearing retirement have actually considered ducking out into early retirement or have done so already because of the pandemic — to the tune of about two in five surveyed.3

It’s clear there is more than one way older workers are thinking about the Great Resignation, and individual factors are likely playing a major role in the decision.

Talk to older workers about retirement in today’s climate

Amid the current volatility of financial markets, older Americans need support and knowledge to make smart decisions about the timing and planning of their retirement. Encourage pre-retirees to do the following before they retire:

  • Work with a financial professional to generate a retirement income plan that addresses both good and bad market conditions
  • Run a Social Security projection to understand the impact of claiming strategies
  • Consider flexible work schedules and/or alternate sources of income supplements
  • Calculate what will be needed to cover healthcare costs based on the timing of retirement

The important thing is to make sure they comprehend where they stand financially based on their options, one way or the other.

Resources and solutions to help navigate challenging retirement obstacles

We are at a pivotal moment for retirement preparation as higher interest rates, high inflation and a tumultuous market all hit workers at once. But with the right planning and considerations, which should include investing carefully in a diverse portfolio and regularly consulting with a professional, this type of environment is just a stumbling block, not an insurmountable hurdle.

We invite you to take a look at some of our resources and solutions created to help ensure older Americans are properly planning for retirement. 

1 Pew Research Center, Majority of workers who quit a job in 2021 cite low pay, no opportunities for advancement, feeling disrespected, March 9, 2022
2 Nationwide Retirement Institute, New study: for many older employees, there isn’t a Great Resignation, it’s the Great Delay, November 8, 2021
3 AARP, Understanding the Great Resignation and Impact of COVID-19 on Work for the 50+, January 2022