Flex-Tirement? Grand-ternity?



Baby Boomers are living longer than earlier generations, and many have developed skills employers rely on: if every eligible Boomer fully retires as soon as eligible, employers will face labor shortages. No wonder businesses are creating flexible paths to retirement, and even providing elbow room to grandparents involved in childcare. 

The Time’s Come: Retaining Older Workers

A senior advisor at AARP, Heather Tinsley Fix sums up the increasing importance of  retaining older workers this way: “Many companies are nervous about a lot of traditional knowledge and experience walking out the door in large volumes….Between 2024 and 2027 over 11 million Baby Boomers turn 65 each year and that’s a typical common age for retirement, so I think companies are nervous about just the volume of people leaving.” Indeed, the Pew Research Center has found that by 2032 (just nine years from now), “older adults are projected to account for 57% of labor force growth,” as the population of adults 65 and older in the labor force grows from 6.6% in 2022 to 8.6%.

Faced with “massive turnover and the loss or transfer of institutional knowledge,” employers have begun adapting new, transitional approaches to retirement that include 

 “employees continuing to contribute to their retirement plan, continuing employees’ health insurance until age 65, enabling flexible and hybrid work schedules, and cross-training employees in certain, distinct roles.” Among the benefits employers are pursuing toward successfully retaining older workers are:


  • Flexible work hours
  • Hybrid work programs
  • Arrangements to phase into retirement over one year
  • Providing practical mentorships to retain older workers
  • Upskilling
  • Offering in-retirement-plan protected retirement income options and annuity products
  • Offering employees the option to retain their health coverage until age 65; and
  • Providing family leave policies for parents and grandparents.


Since prospective retirees are not eligible for Medicare until 65, the opportunity to continue receiving health insurance through the workplace is clearly important, with experts at AARP underscoring: “After 65 when you do qualify for Medicare, then it becomes a little less important but in that crucial 10-year period [from] 55 to 65 it’s really, really important for companies if they’re offering phased retirement to include health coverage in that and to dictate if it’s [available to people working] 20 hours or 30 hours, whatever the threshold is that you need to maintain to keep those benefits….”

Retirement industry experts also point out that with caregiving responsibilities a top of mind issue for many workers, especially women, it’s a good idea for businesses to have a policy in support of “grand-ternity leave”, as well as one for parental leave. Going further, when strategizing about how to keep older workers engaged, don’t neglect the hurdles caused by ageism in the workplace: “Research shows that about two in three adults ages 50-plus in the labor force (64%) think older workers face age discrimination in the workplace today.”  As Mauro Guillen, of the Wharton School reminds us all: “The traditional model of retirement needs to be adjusted…. We must recalibrate our societal structures to embrace the longevity revolution….The future belongs to those who can integrate the wisdom of age with the dynamism of youth.”

Good To Do…

While working on new approaches to benefits that help older workers remain on the job while they “flex” into retirement, it’s also a wise idea for plan sponsors to add a layer of protection for themselves, given the heightened scrutiny, regulation and litigation related to many aspects of ERISA. At Colonial Surety, protection is affordable–even for plan sponsors from small businesses: a whole year of Fiduciary Liability Insurance costs less than a few dollars a day. 

To further shield the business and retirement plan, Cyber Liability Insurance is included at no extra cost. Armed with Colonial’s complete liability insurance package, if you face claims of alleged or actual breaches of duty in connection with the employee retirement plan, you’ll be protected with defense costs and penalty limits up to $1,000,000. 

Colonial provides a simple and affordable way to protect yourself and your business: just upgrade your ERISA bond to include Fiduciary and Cyber Liability insurance. You can choose a 1, 2, or 3-year package.If you already have an ERISA bond package with Colonial, go ahead and lock in your rates by upgrading to the 2 or 3 year package.

Protect yourself, your business and your plan for the go forward:

ERISA Bond+Fiduciary+Cyber Liability HERE

Providing customers with knowledgeable and friendly service since 1930, Colonial Surety Company is rated “A Excellent” by A.M. Best Company, U.S. Treasury listed and in business all across the country.