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Why so many Wisconsinites have chosen to 'unretire'

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Posted at 10:09 AM, Jul 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-12 19:29:30-04

OAK CREEK, Wis. — In our Two Americas series, we look at the America you know and the one you might not.

In this report, we show you why some people say retirement is not all it is cracked up to be. In fact, people are calling this era The Great Unretirement!

We look at why so many older adults are re-imagining the American Dream.

"There's a new wave, it's an unretirement, and I'm loving every minute of it," said Robert Harris, MATC trucking student.

67-year-old Harris retired two years ago as an overhead crane operator and factory worker. But retirement for him lasted two months. "I was just sitting around the house all day getting fat, and I just got tired. I thought, 'I gotta get out and do something,'" he said.

So Harris decided to go back to school. He quickly discovered he is not alone. "You see people of all age groups come here, you see people with walkers," he said.

Richard Ross with ManpowerGroup has heard of the term 'unretirement.'

"Absolutely, about 1.7 million retirees returned to work in the last year. I'm one of them. In fact, this is my fourth unretirement," he tells us.

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Ross, who is 76 years old, works at ManpowerGroup to help remove the stigma of hiring workers over 50. "If you get laid off in this country when you turn 50, AARP studies show it can take up to two years to find another job, and you'll never make the same money again," he said.

He says many older adults are also unretiring because of the rising cost of inflation and because they had not properly prepared their budgets for retirement.

Harris is counting on opportunities to open up with the great worker shortage after he completes his truck driving program at Milwaukee Area Technical College in Oak Creek and gets his CDL license. "Get out and see the world, see the country, see the countryside, work outside," he said.

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Because at the end of the day, feeling a sense of purpose in our community has a deeper meaning to all of us, no matter what age.

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