A Phenomenological Study of Baby Boomer Retirement Expectations, Results, and Implications

A Phenomenological Study of Baby Boomer Retirement Expectations, Results, and Implications

Author: 
Arlene Davidson McClurg
Program of study: 
D.M.
Abstract: 
The first wave of Baby Boomers became eligible for early retirement in January 2008. This qualitative phenomenological study of 15 Baby Boomer retirees was conducted to understand the Baby Boomer retirees lived experiences and determine if they might want to return to work after they retired. Themes extracted from the semi-structured interview process included planning and expectations, how retirement stacked up against expectations, financial impact, interest in work in the future, and new skills or training wanted. Changing economic conditions mandate that individuals assume more responsibility for their retirement. Concurrently, organizational leadership must recognize that shifts in population growth in the U. S. may affect their staffing needs and that retirees are one viable source of these skills.
Dedication: 
I’d like to dedicate this work to my late son, Chad, a few key colleagues who have helped make this journey possible, and my husband, Steve. Chad’s sunny disposition was inspiring as I started this journey. He always provided a smile and words of encouragement as I spent my weekends doing coursework. Although he did not share my enthusiasm for school and education, he was a cheerleader for me. My friend and dissertation colleague Brigid Schaffer has been a rock of stability and source of inspiration and creativity. We met in the first class and have created an enduring connection and friendship, both for the dissertation process and for life. Lourdes Ramos, a close friend and previous boss, has been a tremendous sounding board throughout this journey. Whether I needed to discuss an approach for writing a paper, develop a strategy to select a mentor, or figure out how to cope with Chad’s death, Lourdes has been there. Tanya Vaughn-Patterson, a work colleague and friend, originally introduced me to University of Phoenix. Upbeat and fun, Tanya helped me overcome the challenges of research. Barbara McDonough is a neighbor and morning walking buddy. Throughout the journey, Barbara was a confidant and sounding board. Eric Klabe, my UOP academic counselor for nearly four years has been both helpful and reliable. He checked in regularly and always asked the right questions at the right time. He has been a guiding light and I consider him a friend. My husband Steve, has been solid, supportive, and patient during this adventure, particularly throughout the study component. He assisted with getting the word out among potential volunteers and has been a daily source of strength.
Acknowledgements: 
I would like to recognize my committee consisting of my mentor Dr. Sam Hardy and committee members Dr. Rachel Dilts and Dr. Michael Raphael. Dr. Hardy provided just enough direction to keep me in the ballpark but room to figure out my own issues. Dr. Dilts asked thought provoking questions and provided enormous assistance with APA requirements. Dr. Raphael joined the committee at half time; I will be forever grateful. I would also like to acknowledge Rachel Ohlschlager who was my academic advisor for the last year of this process. Rachel helped me negotiate some serious barriers to completion. Thanks also go to Terry Clark and Sandra Turnquest, who are both colleagues and friends, who reviewed my interview structure and process. They helped immensely because I trust and value their input. Glen Daniels of the Real Estate Office allowed me to use his conference room to conduct interviews. It proved useful as it was a neutral, centrally located, quiet and comfortable place to interview. I appreciate it. I’d also like to acknowledge and thank Suluki Iddeen, a friend and colleague, who handled the transcription of the interviews. She did a timely and professional job and was easy to work with. Last, I’d like to thank all the interviewees. Without you this would not have happened.