Beyond the Livelong Workday: Is There a New Face of Retirement?

  • Jacquelyn B. JamesEmail author
  • Nancy Morrow-Howell
  • Ernest Gonzales
  • Christina Matz-Costa
  • Anna Riddle-Wilder


It is often said that the baby boom cohort has changed every institution that it has confronted across the life course, from hospitals during the boom years, to schools that had to expand to accommodate them, to different ideas about marriage, family, and work (Achenbaum, The Gerontologist 52:283–287, 2012; Hughes ME, O’Rand AM, The lives and times of the baby boomers. In Carnevale E, et al. (eds), The American people: Census 2000. Russell Sage Foundation, New York, p 1–32, 2004). Generally, it is thought that in one way or another this cohort will change the face of retirement. As a cohort, the baby boom is widely considered to be more interested in growth and development than in satisfaction and security, as were the cohorts that preceded them (Lesthaeghe, Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 111:18112–18115, 2014). They are also still seen as “the me generation” (Hughes ME, O’Rand AM, The lives and times of the baby boomers. In Carnevale E, et al. (eds), The American people: Census 2000. Russell Sage Foundation, New York, p 1–32, 2004). Since the front row of this age group is well into the conventional retirement years, here we ask—how much are they changing the work and retirement scene? Is theirs just a new retirement with more years added? Or are they actively creating a retirement very different from the cohort that preceded them? This chapter addresses these questions. Generally, findings reveal that ideas about retirement have been changing for some time, but that the baby boom cohort is definitely working longer, and differently, than previous cohorts. We discuss these trends and also present strategies for making it possible for greater numbers of older adults to use the retirement years for the betterment of society and retired individuals.


Retirement Baby boom cohort Life satisfaction Third agers 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jacquelyn B. James
    • 1
    Email author
  • Nancy Morrow-Howell
    • 2
  • Ernest Gonzales
    • 3
  • Christina Matz-Costa
    • 4
  • Anna Riddle-Wilder
    • 5
  1. 1.Center on Aging and WorkBoston CollegeChestnut HillUSA
  2. 2.Brown School of Social WorkWashington UniversitySt. LouisUSA
  3. 3.New York UniversityNew YorkUSA
  4. 4.Boston CollegeChestnut HillUSA
  5. 5.School of Social WorkBoston CollegeChestnut HillUSA

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