Tuesday, November 28, 2023


Did the pandemic force you into early retirement? We want to hear your story

As I relaxed with my digital copy of the New York Times on the Friday before this July 4th weekend, it occurred me that this is the first Fourth that Americans have been able to partially celebrate since the advent of the pandemic. COVID-19 changed a lot of things for a lot of people, including folks who had carefully planned their retirements.

One Times headline Friday read, “They Didn’t Expect to Retire Early. The Pandemic Changed Their Plans.”

The story talked about how the pandemic has reversed the trend of delayed retirements for many Americans, forcing them out of careers years before they had planned. Suddenly, workers in their late 50s are calling it quits when their original plans likely had them working into their late 60s.

In the past 15 months, according to labor stats, about 2.5 million Americans have retired. That’s twice as many as retired in 2019.

How prevalent, I wondered, was this phenomenon amongst the RVing crowd? After all, anyone who opts for an either full-time or almost full-time RVing lifestyle for retirement typically plans, re-plans and deeply contemplates their future for years before they pull the ripcord. Did the pandemic force their hand?

The Times story said early retirement was an easy decision for the few who had fat 401(k) accounts waiting. A surge in home values also made it an opportune time to sell the homestead. How many of those folks also decided to hit the road in an RV?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics and the University of Michigan Health & Retirement Study say about 55% of recent retirements were involuntary. But among the top 10% of wage earners in America, only 10% of retirements were forced.

This shift to early retirement is a sharp reversal of a long-standing trend. The share of the workforce that is still actively working after age 65 is 50 percent higher than it was 20 years ago. Is COVID-19 changing that pattern?

The implications of this early exit from the workforce are many. It might delay our economic recovery. Retirements cause a talent drain, as well as the fact that retirees aren’t the free-wheeling spenders they were before they left the job behind.

So, my question for RVtravel.com readers is this:

Have you recently decided to call it quits and retire early? If so, I’d like to hear your story.

Fill out the form below so we can share your story with our other readers. Please include your name, email (we won’t spam you, we promise! It’s only if we have questions for you) and your age.

Mike Gast
Mike Gast
Mike Gast was the vice president of Communications for Kampgrounds of America Inc. for 20 years before retiring in 2021. He also enjoyed a long newspaper career, working as a writer and editor at newspapers in North Dakota, South Dakota, Oregon, and Montana. He and his wife, Lori Lyon, now own and operate the Imi Ola Group marketing company, focusing on the outdoor industry.



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BILLY Bob Thronton (@guest_132621)
2 years ago

Here’s an idea for the writing staff. One year from now, bring up this article again, and ask; Were you glad you retired early.

To me, it’s an oxymoron to think you were “forced” into anything. There are so many job openings in this country, it’s sinful to think you can’t find work. If you have a skill set, that should be established by your 50ties!!! And, your punctual unlike younger folks, then employers will go out of their way to hire you. But, I say, give it 6 mo., if you hadn’t killed the Mrs. Your on the right road.

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