Who is a Nevertiree?

Retirement. Conventionally, it’s perceived as something that most people look forward to – the freedom to rest, travel, or pursue whatever interests they have, without the daily grind of turning up at the office. But for a certain section of the population, it seems that the golf course, spending winters in sunnier climes, lazy afternoons in front of the TV and all those other retirement clichés have lost their appeal. For these folks, recently dubbed the Nevertirees, the prospect of retirement just can’t compete with the stimulation of the workplace.

On the surface this might seem surprising – would a person who had spent the majority of his/her life in a tough job, especially if it involved hard physical work or immense pressure, really be keen to trade those years of leisure and relaxation for life back in employment? No, the reality is that the term Nevertiree relates to a particular breed of worker, a person who has enjoyed a very high level of professional and financial success.

A recent survey found that 60% of individuals polled planned to reject retirement in favor of becoming a Nevertiree, continuing to work, take on new projects and even start new businesses, regardless of their advancing years. In financial terms, these people all fell into the category of ‘high net worth’ individuals, which means that they had more than $1 million in investment assets.

However, for the Nevertiree, it seems that it’s not just about making more money. If someone has spent their working life in a stimulating job – doing deals, solving problems or making a big contribution to society – it’s not surprising that they might miss the adrenaline rush and satisfaction of continuing to work. Many high-earning, successful professionals feel defined by their work and lose a sense of their own identity without it. Others enjoy the company of their peers and would find it hard to let go of professional friendships. Stepping out of the world of work could therefore open up the potential for loneliness and depression if life changes dramatically and boredom sets in. It’s far better to become a Nevertiree, who at this level of professional and financial success is likely to have choices about what and how much work they do.