For over half a century, the American Association of Retired Persons has served the interests of the over-50 crowd, slowly becoming one of the most powerful non-profit organizations in the country - both in terms of membership (40 million+) and its strong lobbying arm.
Today, its CEO Jo Ann Jenkins is telling people that they should change the way they think about retirement, as we're all living longer, more productive lives.
In a recent interview with The Washington Post, Jenkins was asked to give her number one piece of retirement advice. Her answer? Don't retire.
"My first piece of advice is: Don’t retire. I’m 57 and having the best time. I’ve had some wonderful work experiences during the course of my 30-plus years here in Washington, but I have to say that today I am finding more fulfillment in the work that I’m doing than I have in any other position I’ve held," she said.
She went on to describe the changes she's attempting to push at the AARP.
"The biggest change we’re facing and really trying to tackle is that people are living longer and longer. Most people are going to live another 30 to 40 years past age 50. So we really need to be able, as an organization, to think about the wants and needs of the people 50-plus as they move forward in this additional life—and not be so tied to solutions of the past," said Jenkins.
— JoAnn Jenkins (@JoAnn_Jenkins) November 6, 2015
"Being 50 today is very different than it was for my parents. Over a third of our members are still in the workplace. The whole idea of retirement is totally changing. People may be retiring from one job, but that doesn’t mean they want to stay at home or travel. Some of them do, but many start part-time work or volunteering. A lot of people see this as a time to find real meaning and purpose. That’s triggering a big shift at AARP."
As for Jenkins, who's 57, she doesn't see retirement in the near future.