Retirees Go Back to Work for Fun, Finances
Callum-Pens, Lillia, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
When he could see 60 approaching, Steve Davis began thinking about retirement. By that point in 2005, the corporate training manager at Michelin's North American headquarters in Greenville, S.C., had worked a collective 32 years. He had heard the golden years were only really golden if you were healthy, and he figured he had until about age 70. He wanted to do the things he had always dreamed.
After about a year, though, retirement no longer seemed the best fit. Davis missed the community he had at work, and he began to think about quality retirement, which for him meant not just time but the funds to do the things he and wife, Sandra, wanted to do.
Turns out, Davis' old employer was missing him, too. In 2009, Davis began a second career -- at Michelin.
"When I left, I remember thinking, you know, I'm not going to really miss the routine and the grind," Davis said. "I was burning out. But still, the passion was still there."
In the new economy of sometimes strained pensions and Social Security dissolution, retirement is coming to mean something new: "not working as much. In the 21st century, the end of a career is increasingly cast in new light, one that often includes working part time.
Sixty percent of workers 60 and older said they would look for a new job after retiring, according to a 2012 survey by CareerBuilder.com, an increase from 57 percent in 2011. And 48 percent of employers have plans to hire workers 50 and older this year.
"If you look at the demographic stats, look at how many of the baby boomers have just retired or are about to, it's a very significant portion of our workforce," said Rob Evans, recruiting manager at O'Neal engineering in Greenville. "So, as employers, it makes sense not to just have them disappear."
On the employee side, it makes sense to keep working sometimes, too, said Brian Kaskie, associate director for public policy at the University of Iowa's Center on Aging. In some cases, people find it necessary to work to make ends meet, or just to live their retirement years in the fullest possible way.
And the "new old age" means people are active beyond the typical retirement age of 65.
"Before, when we set the retirement age at 65, it was created with the notion that a lot of people were only projected to live to age 70," Kaskie said. "Now, average life expectancy goes to 80, so we have all these people living much longer than their parents did."
Retirement doesn't mean what it used to.
At home on a recent Wednesday evening, Davis is doing one of his favorite things -- cooking. The spritely 68-year-old moves from oven to counter to sink to stove, chopping, mixing and prepping the night's dinner of Italian-flavored haddock with roasted red potatoes and Parmesan asparagus. Slowing down has never really been a part of Davis' vocabulary. Sandra can attest to that.
"That's him," she said, chuckling. "He gets up in the morning, he's excited to go, he's excited to do what he's going to do."
Davis spent the first few months of retirement doing things he always thought of doing. He slept in, he focused on cooking, he volunteered with his church, and he took on home renovation projects.
Finding things to do was never the issue, but he missed the social and technical aspects of work.
His last five years in Michelin's education and training division were tiring but highly rewarding. So when Michelin offered him a job with the company's Returning Retirees Program to help train newer employees, he jumped at the opportunity.
Good for business
When Michelin moved its North American headquarters to Greenville in 1974, the company went on a hiring blitz. Over the years, the combination of low turnover and time has meant 40 percent of the workforce will be eligible for retirement in the next five years. …