Sunday, August 14, 2022

‘Unretirement’ is newest trend

When Larry Hegerle retired from teaching in 2018 at Kasson-Mantorville High School, he didn’t stay retired for long. He went on to pursue a seminary degree, and took on the role of hospice chaplain for two years before COVID hit and he was no longer able to visit patients.

“God has given me the passion and the opportunities to use the gifts he has given me,” Hegerle said of his decision to stay in the game of work post retirement.

The ‘retirement ideal’ has been changing for years, the BBC reports. Older people are increasingly unretiring, changing the shape of this life stage.

The concept of retirement as we know it is shifting, and has been for a long time, according to the BBC article. The number of people working past retirement age has grown consistently since the 1990s. In the U.S., 32 percent of people aged 65 to 69 were working in 2017, far more than the 22 percent who were working in 1994.

Then came COVID-19. When the pandemic hit, labor trends went awry. First, there was an exodus of older professionals from the workforce, with more than three million Americans retiring early. Now, however, as inflation spikes, the number of people coming out of retirement is growing. In the U.S., job site Indeed reports ‘unretirement’ levels are at 3.3 percent, much higher than the sub- 3 percent average seen since 2017.

While there are several factors behind retirees’ return to the workforce, it’s clear that concerns linked to the cost of living are currently a huge motivator. In the U.S., where unemployment is at the lowest it’s been since the 1960s, unretirement is being touted as a solution to a raft of labor shortages, and many retirees are on board.

A large portion of retirees who return to the workforce do so in a part-time capacity. Take Hegerle, who finds reward in working as a part-time coach.

“The greatest joy I have is when I hear from fans how much they enjoy how our players enjoy playing with each other,” he said. “The Lord has blessed me with many great kids to work with over the years and I hope to stay involved with coaching as long as I am able to.”

“I remember the story of a young seminary student who asked Billy Graham for his advice on whether to become a missionary or a coach,” he went on. “Billy told him to become a coach because coaches impact more people in a year than missionaries do.”

When Hegerle first returned to coaching post retirement, he did so at the suggestion of his wife. She convinced him to volunteer coaching a Rochester area boys club volleyball team and then he added a girls club team. At about this time, he heard Kasson-Mantorville was having difficulty finding an experienced head volleyball coach so he contacted the athletic director and offered his services.

“I ended up getting the job,” he said.

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