The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced the number of Americans over 65 who are employed full- or part-time has climbed from 13 percent in 2000 to 19 percent in 2016, and the local community is certainly seeing the effects.
Experience Matters is a non-profit in Arizona that matches retirees to one of 600 non-profits that fits their interests and skill sets. Interim Executive Director Nora Hannah says it helps baby boomers who are healthy and educated to give their time and talent back to the community.
“This generation is also very community-minded…,” Hannah says. “They really believe they need to be a part of their community and that they can make the world better through their collective engagement.”
Mike Santeusanio is one of the retirees that Experience Matters has helped. The 63-year-old is now the Human Resource Manager for Circle the City, a non-profit that helps homeless patients recover from medical procedures.
“I never knew I could be as happy as I am now in my professional career,” Santeusanio says. “It was kind of unplanned. Things aligned, people came together, energies came together [to make this happen].”
State Director of AARP Arizona Dana Kennedy says some people are left questioning what their purpose in life is after they retire, especially if their career was a significant part of their identity. Now, baby boomers are changing what retirement means, she says. Since they already have a retirement savings and have nothing but time, she says, they are able to take more chances.
“I think they can take a risk,” Kennedy says. “You might not want to take that risk if that job is tied to a retirement. If your job is no longer tied to retirement, then maybe you’ll take that risk and start a new career.”
Hannah says people come to Experience Matters looking for a variety of job experiences, and it’s up to them to decide how much time they want to commit and how engaged they want to be. For more information on Experience Matters, visit experiencemattersaz.org.
TED SIMONS: RETIREMENT IS A GOAL FOR MANY. A LOT OF RETIREES ARE FINDING THEIR LONG AWAITED DAYS OF LEISURE ARE NOT ALL THEY ARE CRACKED UP TO BE. AN INCREASING NUMBER OF RETIREES ARE GOING BACK TO WORK.
ALLYSA ADAMS: WE KNOW A LOT OF RETIREES GO BACK TO WORK BECAUSE OF FINANCIAL ISSUES. RECENT STUDIES FOUND THAT MORE AND MORE PEOPLE ARE GOING BACK INTENTIONALLY. THEY ARE MAKING A CHOICE SAYING I WANT TO GO BACK TO WORK, MORE THAN I HAVE TO GO BACK TO WORK.
REPORTER: AFTER A LIFETIME OF WORK, MIKE IS EXACTLY WHERE HE WANTS TO BE. TAKING A BREAK FROM HIS NORMAL OFFICE DUTIES TO GIVE BACK, WITH A LITTLE TLC FOR HOMELESS PROCEDURES.
SOT: I'M 63, AND I NEVER KNEW I COULD BE HAPPY AS I AM NOW IN MY PROFESSIONAL CAREER. IT WAS UNPLANNED. IT JUST -- THINGS ALIGNED. PEOPLE CAME TOGETHER. ENERGIES CAME TOGETHER.
REPORTER: IT'S PART OF A GROWING GROUP OF OLDER AMERICANS FINDING THE OPPORTUNITY FOR A SECOND OR THIRD CHAPTER IN THEIR CAREER. ACCORDING TO THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS, THE NUMBER OF THOSE 65 EMPLOYED FULL OR PART TIME HAS CLIMBED FROM 13% IN 2000 TO 19% IN 2016.
DANA KENNEDY: YOU KNOW YOUR WORK BRINGS PURPOSE TO YOUR LIFE, AND IT HAS A LOT OF MEANING. PEOPLE ARE CONNECTED TO WHAT THEIR TITLE AND WHAT THEIR JOB IS. THEY RETIRE, AND IT'S WHAT MY PURPOSE IN LIFE IS.
REPORTER: BABY BOOMERS ARE REDEFINING RETIREMENT, MAKING IT MORE FLUID AND TAKING CHANCES BECAUSE THEY CAN. THEY HAVE RETIREMENT SAVINGS, LIVING LONGER, AND THEY HAVE NOTHING BUT TIME.
REPORTER: IT'S LIKE I ALWAYS WANTED TO HAVE MY OWN BAKERY. MAYBE I'LL OPEN UP A BAKERY. MAYBE I'LL DO CONSULTING.
SOT: I THINK THEY CAN TAKE A RISK. YOU MIGHT NOT WANT TO TAKE THE RISK IF YOUR JOB IS TIED TO RETIREMENT. IF YOUR JOB IS NOT TIED TO RETIREMENT, MAYBE I'LL START THAT CAREER.
REPORTER: A LOT OF THEM LAND HERE AT AGE MATTERS, MATCHING THEIR EXPERIENCE WITH NONPROFITS.
SOT: IT WAS LEVERAGED FOR THE BABY BOOMERS RIGHT NOW RETIRING FROM THEIR JOBS, HEALTHY, WELL EDUCATED, AND THEY WANT TO GIVE THEIR TIME AND TALENT BACK TO THE COMMUNITY.
REPORTER: NORA SAYS MANY OF THE PEOPLE THAT COME TO HER AREN'T LOOKING FOR A 40 A WEEK JOB. THEY WANT TIME TO VISIT GRANDKIDS AND TAKE VACATIONS.
SOT: WE HAVE KIDS WORKING ON BASIC TUTORING ISSUES. THEY HAVE A CHOICE OF HOW MUCH TIME AND HOW ENGAGED THEY WOULD LIKE TO BE. IT'S NOT A HARD SELL. SENIORS BRING A LOT OF SKILLS TO THE TABLE, ESPECIALLY IN MARKETING, STRATEGIC PLANNING AND COMMUNICATION. IF YOU KNEW HOW TO DO SKILL SET MANAGEMENT, YOU COULD BRING IT TO THE FOREFRONT.
REPORTER: THEY LIVED THROUGH THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT, VIETNAM ERA.
SOT: THEY WERE MARCHERS AND PROTESTERS AND PEACE MOVEMENT FOLK. THEY BELIEVE THEY NEED TO BE PART OF THEIR COMMUNITY AND THEY'LL MAKE THE WORLD BETTER THROUGH THEIR COLLECTIVE ENGAGEMENT.
SOT: I WAS LOOKING FOR SOMETHING DIFFERENT AND MORE MEANINGFUL FOR ME.
REPORTER: THAT'S HOW HE LANDED HERE. AFTER THE CORPORATE WORLD AND REAL ESTATE, HE WANTED TO ADD COMPASSION TO HIS WORK.
SOT: TB, VACATIONS. EXPERIENCE MATTERS MATCHED HIM WITH CIRCLE CITY, A NONPROFIT FOR PEOPLE FACING HOMELESSNESS. IT WAS A PART TIME GIG AT FIRST.
THE NEW VOLUNTEER ORIENTATION. NOW HE'S THE RESOURCE MANAGER AND VOLUNTEER BARBER FOR ANYONE NEEDING A LITTLE TRIM.
SOT: I CAN'T IMAGINE DOING ANYTHING BETTER THAN WHAT I'M DOING, AS FAR AS WORK GOES, IT'S THE WAY IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE.
TED SIMONS: THAT IS IT FOR NOW. I'M TED SIMONS. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US. YOU HAVE A GREAT EVENING.
Mike Santeusanio: Human Resource Manager, Circle the City
Dana Kennedy: State Director, AARP Arizona
Nora Hannah: Interim Executive Director, Experience Matters