Traditional Retirement Isn’t for Me and Probably You Too

I usually write about the future of work in this column and while I’m doing so again today, I’m making it personal. I am going to be talking, in a sense, about my future and the future of others near my age. This was prompted by an excellent piece published on LinkedIn and Uncommon Wisdom Daily called Why are So Many Saying ‘No’ to Retirement?

Getting Personal for a Moment

Brad Hoppmann writes,

“Traveling, playing golf, spending time with children and grandchildren. That’s what many Americans think of when contemplating retirement….Yet these days, more Americans are just saying “no” to traditional retirement. In fact, the percentage of workers 65 or older is at its highest level since the 1960s, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.”

My wife and I are about to fall into that category. With birthdays in June and July we will both turn 65 (and I must say, we have both aged well, thank you) and we have no intention of retiring. For one thing our official retirement age according to Social Security is age 66 for full benefits. For another thing we both enjoy what we do. So why retire? We are not doing the kind of work that physically wears you out. I am not digging ditches for crying out loud, I am consulting, teaching, writing and speaking.

I have two great examples to follow in people I have admired. Peter Drucker, THE management guru extraordinaire, spoke, wrote and taught until about 93. Tom Peters, at the age of 73, continues to writer and speak around the world. Both these men had a passion for their subjects, and I have two driving passions.

HR Is Still My Calling

My first passion is to make sure HR does things right. I abhor bad HR. I abhor bad HR done out of ignorance. Thus I write about compliance. Not a very sexy subject but absolutely essential.

My second passion is the future. I love writing, studying and speaking about the future of work. I had an opportunity to do the latter at Thrive2016 in Las Vegas. I got a couple people in my life excited about it as well.

  • I want HR to be PROACTIVE and be prepared for alternative futures that may occur in their worlds.
  • I want them to be STRATIGIC players by understanding how they can influence the direction of their companies by understanding and preparing responses to developing trends.
  • I want HR to understand the tools they can use to discover and track the things of IMPORT to their businesses.

To that end I am sticking around for a long while.

You may as well plan on reading and learning from me until I pass. Invite me to come speak to your group if you want to learn how to prepare for the future of work. In all honesty, I am a bargain.

Just never ask me when I am retiring.

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Mike Haberman

Michael (Mike) D. Haberman, SPHR is a consultant, speaker, writer of HR Observations, and co-founder of Omega HR Solutions, Inc. After over 30 years in HR he got tired of the past and focuses here on the Future of HR. Connect with Mike.

Reader Interactions


  1. Warren Whitlock says

    The word ‘retire’ comes from a definition of ‘go off alone to die’. Why would anyone desire and work 40 years for that?

    I take exception to the phrase “traditional retirement”. The retirement you described is anything but traditional. It’s a fantasy of a ream world that a very few were able to achieve.

    Remember those stats we all got at the start of financial planning (which is mostly sold as retirement planning)? My instructors said “only 5% achieve financial independence”… Meaning that the vast majority never had any chance to live that dream.

    I don’t deny those who works hard, saved, invested and got lucky enough to have that choice. Those that I know made this work are active for the most part.

    Choice is a better goal. I made the choice to do what I love, regardless of money, and life a lifestyle that I don’t ever want to end.


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