‘Phased Retirement’ Growing Popular Among Baby Boomers

The last bunch of baby boomers just turned 50-years-old. As the group gears up for retirement, many are taking on the idea of “phased retirement,” according to Time.com. Instead of working full 8-hour days, the popular concept allow older adults to transition gradually from full-time to part-time and eventually full retirement. More than 40% of boomers prefer phased retirement as opposed to clocking in 9 to 5 up until their very last day on the job.

[Related: Decoded: The Money Behind Winning a Grammy]

Time reports that last “November the federal government okayed a plan to let certain long-tenured workers 55 and up stay on half-time while getting half their pension and full health benefits.” Only about 18% of companies offer this option to their workers, though. Informal phased retirement programs are more common, as Transamerica found that “roughly half of employers say they allow older workers to dial back to part-time.” Despite the high percentage of employers claiming to favor such programs, however, only about 21% of workers agree that those options are in place. Transamerica Center president Catherine Collinson explains to Time that there’s an evident disconnect between what employers say their offering and what employees actually perceive their superiors to be doing.

Here are a few things the site suggests considering before making a phased retirement decision:

Resist Raiding Your Savings

Switching to part-time will significantly cut your income. Determine this effect on your retirement. “Ideally you should avoid dipping into your savings or claiming Social Security early, since both will cut your income later,” according to Time. If you qualify for a pension, “the formula will heavily weight your final years of pay.” A decrease in salary could potentially make phased retirement considerably expensive.

Start at the Office

If your employer offers an official phased retirement program, ask your co-workers who’ve signed on about their experiences. Strategize with your boss how you can take advantage of the program without your adjusted schedule creating problems or a burden on fellow employees.

If there is no formal program in place, express to your supervisor how informal phased retirement can benefit the company by reducing your expense as compared to a full-time employee. For example, if you are 65 and eligible for Medicare or if you’re able to get coverage through your spouse, make your employer aware of the eliminated cost.

Do an Encore Elsewhere

Use the lighter workload to try something new. There are online resources, like Encore.org, Retired-Brains.com, and Retirement-Jobs.com, specifically for older adults. You may also be able to find training programs through local community colleges, which could turn into a job opportunity.