This week’s question: Seventy percent of Americans say they will work as long as possible and avoid early retirement, some because they enjoy their careers, some because they need the money. When do you plan to retire and why? And have you noticed any changes in your employees’ attitudes toward retirement?
I certainly have considered early retirement, but I cannot imagine completely retiring. When that day comes, I imagine I will travel world-wide and provide specialized care pro bono. For many in my field, the lure of early retirement is tied to the incredible pressures that physicians experience now from low healthcare reimbursement rates, increasing regulation, and medical malpractice legal threats.
Alejandro Badia, orthopedic surgeon and founder, OrthoNOW
I have no plans to retire as I enjoy what I am doing and am not ready mentally or financially to lose my daily routine or income. When the time comes, I would like to have a working retirement for as long as I am able to — hopefully enjoying a role that will allow me to contribute to my industry and community.
Peggy Benua, general manager, Dream South Beach
My husband and I retired early in our 40s. Frankly, after getting caught up on home improvement projects and improving golfing skills, we both itched to get back to work. I now work full time, pro bono, on The Underline project. Our volunteers range from high schools students to seniors, and many of our volunteers are retired. There is so much need in our community. Anyone who retires can truly work full time as a volunteer and feel fulfilled and relevant.
Meg Daly, president and CEO, Friends of The Underline
I’m in the 70 percent. I will work as long as I believe I am effective and excited. I've always embraced my job as a “Mission.” You retire from jobs, but you never retire from mission.
T. Willard Fair, president and CEO, Urban League of Greater Miami
Retirement is a very personal decision. If a person is seeking to fulfill a personal goal that requires time and dedication, retirement can be a good option provided he/she can afford it. It’s worth considering at an age while you still have the time and energy to add a different dimension to your life. Personally, I have enjoyed my career and especially the job I have now, but there will come the time to move on. My belief is that once retired, you need to build new interests, social contacts and participate in the community. You can make retirement successful by putting in the effort to build a different life just like you did to build a career. I find that most people who do not want to retire have a sense of control at their workplace and satisfaction from their work. When I retire, I will miss the relationship and interaction with my colleagues most of all.
Vicky Garrigo, market head, U.S. Southeastern Region Private Banking, HSBC Bank
I’m very fortunate that my avocation is my vocation and I find such satisfaction in what I do that I suspect that I will be one of those who works as long as possible.
Mitch Kaplan, founder, Books & Books
The old adage that retirement is defined as having the office party, receiving the engraved company watch and then going home to nothing but sit your feet up is nothing more than a fable in today’s world. I find this a very interesting topic as the very definition of work has changed since the standard 40-hour work week is no longer the norm and the same logic is now applied to the context of retirement. Attitudes about retirement are shifting and being defined by each generation and, in general, we believe there is a shift with Generation X and Millennials as they have a different mindset on the concept of retirement. I am an older Generation X’er and plan on deploying my accumulated knowledge and experience gained during the first half of my career toward philanthropic efforts in what I consider to be the halftime of my life as inspired by a wonderful book dealing with this very subject, titled “Finishing Well” by Bob Buford. My personal philosophy toward retirement is to take mini-retirements throughout your entire career to help you come back to work recharged. I want to enjoy my life now and in the present moment, not look toward the sunset in the distant future and wait for that moment or life event many define as retirement; it may be too late to enjoy all of the wonderful life experiences waiting for us.
Alan Kleber, managing director, JLL (Jones Lang LaSalle)
I believe we need to re-evaluate how we view retirement in America as the current “retirement age” of 65 was created when people were living shorter lives than we are today. The idea that most Americans desire to or can afford to stop working at age 65 seems outdated. Not only is it an economic challenge to retire at 65, but more and more studies show that we will live longer if we give our bodies both physical and mental exercise. While we all will likely want to slow down when we enter our 70s, I believe that our collective business experiences are of tremendous value for the next generation. At our company, we have workers from the traditionalist, baby boomer, Generation X and Millennial generations. I believe the interaction among the generations makes us a better organization. As for me, I don’t think I will ever retire in the classic sense. I will always want to have some level of involvement in business.
Mario Murgado, president and CEO, Brickell Motors
Personally, I do not plan to retire, and would love the opportunity to work for as long as I am physically and mentally able to; I enjoy and love what I do. I believe the attitude toward retirement is changing in our modern era, as we see companies striving to provide clean, safe, and enjoyable workplaces, and individuals look to find work that is both enjoyable and enriching. Regarding the hospitality industry, we do not see the traditional retirement model that may be found in most businesses, as many restaurant employees use their positions for supplemental income, or as a means to reach the next step in their lives, whether in education or a career.
Steve Perricone, president and owner, Perricone’s Restaurant
I am probably not typical in part because I love my work. In fact, I do not see it as such. My work is an enjoyable part of my life and fully integrated in much that I do. Retirement seems like a strange concept. I always try to take personal time for myself and my family. Balance is one of the keys to a qualitative life. Not working seems unappealing and unbalanced at least as I perceive the world at this time. I enjoy relaxing in contrast to hard work. Vacations would not be as meaningful were they permanent. At some point, my work may change but I can’t imagine myself retired.
Craig Robins, president and CEO, Dacra
I enjoy what I do and the people I work with too much to even think about retirement at this point. I imagine my family and I will have a discussion about retirement in the future, but for now there are more challenges to tackle and I’m completely focused on continuing to improve the outstanding value that we provide to our customers and our shareholders, and ensuring we do everything we can to attract and retain employees — the most valuable resource that we have! Personally, I’m glad to see that employees appear to be more focused on saving for retirement than ever before, and are taking advantage of the retirement planning benefits provided both within our company as well as outside.
Eric Silagy, president and CEO, Florida Power & Light
Marjorie Stoneman Douglas tirelessly fought for the Everglades until she passed away at 108 years old. I suppose I’ll retire when our aquifers, waterways, and drinking water are safe; when we rely on clean, renewable energy; when our coral reefs are restored; when the Everglades flow from its headwaters to Florida Bay; when the Florida panther and other threatened or endangered native species are back on the path to recovery; when our fish populations are thriving and healthy; and when eating Florida seafood and drinking Florida water doesn’t run the risk of causing cancer — a seemingly uncontroversial goal that the new DEP water quality standards have placed in serious jeopardy. In short, unfortunately, it looks as though I’ll have plenty of work to do for many years to come.
Rachel Silverstein, executive director, Miami Waterkeeper