Americans Take Stock and Reinvent Themselves and Their Careers in Retirement

Study From Charles Schwab and Age Wave Finds Americans Rethinking the Notion of Career Past Their Transition Into Retirement

Wednesday, August 27, 2008 5:30 am PDT



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SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--From changing careers to redefining what it means to be old, Americans across the country are taking stock and rethinking what their lives will be like as they prepare to enter retirement. A new study, commissioned by Charles Schwab & Co., Inc., took a deeper look at four different generations and their thoughts, dreams and goals surrounding lifes third act.

The Rethinking Retirement study revealed a range of perspectives from hope and excitement to confusion and concern on how Americans are shifting the way they define and want to experience their retirement years, said Andy Gill, senior vice president, investor services, at Charles Schwab. Retirement in America is no longer a period of winding down and looking back on life. Americans are pushing back on what it means to be old. Survey responses indicate the generations are ready to continue working, and actually eager to walk down an entirely new career path.

What does it mean to be old?

Redefining what it means to be old was a common trend discovered in the study, with a majority of respondents believing old age does not begin until 75 12 years past the year at which most respondents indicate they would like to begin to receive Social Security (at age 63). Retirement is no longer taking a back seat to other stages in life, noted Dr. Ken Dychtwald, president and CEO of Age Wave, and one of the leading authorities on retirement and the aging population. The bottom line is people are living longer our retirement years are almost as long as our working life. And many of us, especially those within the boomer generation, are very much aware of their abilities and are remaining more active and engaged in this stage of their lives than any other generation before them.

Rethinking Your Career

Retirement has typically marked the end of a long career. However, this paradigm is also changing. According to Schwabs study, 71 percent of pre-retirees surveyed say they want to work in retirement. More pre-retirees also indicate they would continue working to stay mentally active (57 percent) than say they would continue working for the money (45 percent). Study respondents are also almost twice as likely to say retirement is an opportunity for a new, exciting chapter in life (52 percent) than to say it is a time to simply rest and relax (28 percent). Just seven percent view retirement as a time to wind down their lives.

Boomers are at the tipping point of the retirement boom, said Dr. Dychtwald. This leads to questions about how we, as a community, will manage this new emergence of retirees and whether, as individuals, we are prepared. Without a doubt, the notion of what it means to retire is changing as people think differently about what they want to make of their next phase of life. It seems clear from the study that while everyone wants a break from work and most would prefer a better balance between work and leisure, decades of disengaged leisure is not what people want nor can they ultimately afford it.

Workplace Implications

The desire among new retirees to maintain some form of work lifestyle will have implications on how the workplace, and the workforce, is managed in the future. People want part-time, flex-time and a better overall balance between work and leisure. Twenty-six percent of survey respondents say they want to work part-time in retirement. But the most favored option (40 percent) is cycling back and forth between periods of work and leisure a style of work with which most human resources policies are currently unaligned.

Further, seventy percent of those surveyed would like their employers to provide professional advice regarding saving and investing. And an even higher percentage of Generation X respondents (79 percent) would like that advice in the workplace.

The underlying theme from this study is change, said Gill. From the way we view our careers to how we define what retirement will look like. People at every stage of life are looking for help to achieve financial security in their later years. Financial services firms have an important role to play in supporting a lifelong commitment to financial fitness and making available the education, resources and encouragement to help achieve it.

For More Information

More information on the study is available at, along with a self comparison tool ( and an ongoing series of cross-generational discussions on retirement.

About the Study

Rethinking Retirement was initiated by Schwab in collaboration with Age Wave. All data collection and analysis was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive. A total of 3,866 interviews were conducted between March 28 and April 22, 2008. The sample is representative by age, gender, race, income, investable assets, education and region for each of the four generations studied. An oversample was conducted by generation among the major non-White ethnic groups (Hispanics, African Americans and Asians) to ensure adequate representation by ethnicity across all generations. No estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated: a full methodology is available.

About Charles Schwab

The Charles Schwab Corporation (Nasdaq:SCHW) is a leading provider of financial services, with more than 300 offices and 7.3 million client brokerage accounts, 1.3 million corporate retirement plan participants, 367,000 banking accounts, and $1.4 trillion in client assets as of July 31, 2008. Through its operating subsidiaries, the company provides a full range of securities brokerage, banking, money management and financial advisory services to individual investors and independent investment advisors. Its broker-dealer subsidiary, Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. (member SIPC,, and affiliates offer a complete range of investment services and products including an extensive selection of mutual funds; financial planning and investment advice; retirement plan and equity compensation plan services; referrals to independent fee-based investment advisors; and custodial, operational and trading support for independent, fee-based investment advisors through its Schwab Institutional division. Charles Schwab Bank (member FDIC) provides banking and mortgage services and products. More information is available at

About Age Wave

Age Wave is the worlds leader in market analysis and innovative insights concerning the boomer and mature adult sectors. Drawing on thirty+ years experience, Age Wave has developed a unique understanding of the populations expectations, attitudes, hopes and fears regarding retirement and maturity-related lifestyle and work style issues. Under the leadership of Dr. Ken Dychtwald, Ph.D., Age Wave has overseen hundreds of cutting-edge research, training, and consulting assignments worldwide across a variety of industry sectors including financial services, healthcare, food and beverage, retail, travel, media, communications real estate and technology.

About Harris Interactive®

Harris Interactive is a global leader in custom market research. With a long and rich history in multimodal research, powered by science and technology, Harris assists clients in achieving business results. Harris Interactive serves clients globally through their North American, European and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms. For more information, please visit

© 2008 Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. All rights reserved. Member SIPC (0808-4833)


Charles Schwab
Matt Hurwitz, 415-636-3700
Jennifer McClellan, 212-704-4567

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Andy Gill, senior vice president, Schwab Investor Services (Photo: Business Wire)

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