For many, retirement is just a 10 letter word

By Morf Morford
Tacoma Daily Index

With a nationwide average of 10,000 people retiring every day, the “silver tsunami” is impacting all of us – no matter what our age, occupation, or political philosophy.

Have you noticed how many young people have dyed their hair gray? And how many young men (with hair) have shaved it off? It seems that everywhere I go, I see young men with full beards – they look like old people. Perhaps that is the point.

Besides setting – or challenging – fashion sensibilities, senior citizens are changing the rules once again.

For better or worse, the world always seemed to curve around the flood of Baby Boomers, and yes, it is happening again. That generation changed the shape of public education, employment, transportation, technology, social services, the economy and now what  might be called the perpetual gig economy.


Previous generations got pensions and left the world of work. The current generation of retirees has no intention – or, for some at least, even choice – of doing so. It seems that everywhere I go, I see people well past retirement age working.

Part of me wants to see them move on and let younger people take their jobs – but for the most part, young people don’t want those jobs – or are not willing to work for pay that low. Or those jobs don’t exist – in journalism or retail for example.

Entire industries and traditional livelihoods are disintegrating. I can’t tell if the gig economy is making us, or we are making it, but either way, it seems here to stay.

Another part of me hates to see a lifetime of accumulated work experience and wisdom walk away.

There are mentoring programs like SCORE ( to connect younger entrepreneurs with seasoned professionals.

And then there are those – more and more of them – who need to work.

Without adequate savings, many senior citizens, after a lifetime of working,  are on the verge of homelessness, especially in high cost cities like Seattle (

I don’t expect to see a revival of pensions, but whatever your age, start saving now. Social Security  (from what I’ve heard) is great, but it was always meant to be a supplement – not a primary source of support.

Start planning, and don’t be surprised when you see a gray-haired person taking your order.