Retirement & Pensions

The Rise of The Nevertiree

By September 14, 2018 No Comments

The latest unemployment figures, for the May to July 2018 period, show that the number of those age over 65 as a proportion of the workforce is increasing, now over 11% of the total workforce, 99,000 more than last year.

We are also witnessing more clients ‘choosing’ to work beyond traditional retirement ages and these are often Senior executives and/or business owners.

Many nevertirees have gone from the big job into pre-tirement, and just stay there, particularly if ‘pre-tirement’[1] involves them having some equity in the business. Some have fully retired, missed the rigours of work and returned.

The pre-tirement phase typically lasts about 5–15 years; beyond this, you are a nevertiree, working until you are no longer physically or mentally able.

They simply do not want to be put out to graze. Why is this?

  1. They are afraid to retire

Is it because they are working so hard in their business that they have not had the time to fully appreciate what life without work has to offer? Sixty-hour weeks and constant preoccupation with staff, targets and client satisfaction are to be replaced with…What? Hobbies and interests have been stifled by the demands of the business, so, after work, they cannot pick these up. So, retirement does not look that attractive for workaholics!

The routine of work is like a ball and chain that has never released them for long enough to look beyond corporate life. This is tantamount to ‘corporate jail’, denying the tenant the freedom to enjoy a fuller life beyond the office.

Or are they afraid that if they stop work, they will lose all sense of purpose, which will drive them stir crazy, make them lose their mind (as it is not occupied) and send them into an early grave?

  1. Work = Happiness

For many, this is more often than not a self-imposed imprisonment – these people love work with a capital L – control, achievement, fulfilment, flexibility, the thrill of the chase and material gain are where they get their buzz! The key is that it must be creative, social and engaging work that brings you towards a purpose you believe in. Retirement – life without work – can get very, very scary for these individuals.

One nevertiree, at the age of 73, gave the following comment:

“Some people see work as a means to an end and the reward is enjoying the fruits of their labour; I enjoy the labour more than the fruits.”

  1. They have too much to offer and work means something to them

Or, is it because they still have something to offer? There is no reason why a person’s business acumen should dim as they get older. They may fear loss of mental stimulation and challenges; they get their kicks from working; and they enjoy the challenges, the authority, the responsibility, the interaction, and, of course, the money! They are at the top of their game, so why get out now?

Early ‘retiree’ and blogger Mr Money Mustache explains the following:[2]

“Early retirement…does not mean quitting work, even while it may well mean quitting your job. It means opting out of the bull**** portion of your work: the commuting, the politics and the production of inferior products just because your boss has found a profitable niche to exploit.”

 These people have financial freedom, but their passion is work and they do it on their terms; they may opt out of the ‘corporate life’ very early, to do work of their choosing.

  1. They want or need the money

According to UBS 17% of people work beyond retirement because they need the money. The UBS[3] survey finds that 15.9% of people who could afford to retire chose to carry on working, and 61% said one of the main reasons for accumulating wealth was to support their heirs and leave them a generous inheritance. So, it is right to accept that people do work for the money, but it is not the prime motivator for the executive or business owner.

Personally, I believe nevertirees fall into one or more of these camps.

However, for nevertirees, this will be work on their terms – with work no longer dictating lifestyle but lifestyle dictating work. Working two or three days a month, having long weekends away, escaping to the sun in the winter, helping with strategy and high-level decisions – making a difference.

Whatever their motivation, I have no doubt that the number of nevertirees will continue to rise as demand for their experience and skills increase, and the health of ‘pensioners’ gets better – 75 is the new 60!

Who knows, you may be one of them?

[1] Pre-tirement describes the emergence of a new working state, positioned between the traditional states of employment and retirement. The state is found primarily in first-world economies with aging populations. A pre-tiree will continue to create economic wealth and/or contribute to the generation of knowledge by research, likely on a part-time or reduced-hours basis. Some pre-tirees use the period to give back by providing unpaid voluntary work.

[2] Mr Money Mustache, Great News – Early Retirement Doesn’t Mean You’ll Stop Working (Blog) 15 April 2015

[3] UBS Investor Watch 2Q, 2016