What is 'Returnment'

Returnment is the act of returning to work after one has retired from one's job. Returnment happens for many reasons: some people do it out of financial necessity, others because they find full-time retirement less fulfilling than they thought, and return to work for the satisfaction that work provides.

BREAKING DOWN 'Returnment'

Returnment is a growing trend, as more people on the cusp of retiring desire more non-traditional retirement/working arrangements. Not all retirees want to live a life of full-time leisure, especially in the early years of their retirement. In addition, people are living longer and have to support themselves over more years in retirement.

Adding to the issue of longer life expectancy are the changing practices of private employers, who are opting to enroll their workers in defined-contribution retirement plans rather than defined-benefit pensions. The proportion of American workers participating in defined-benefit pension plans fell from 38 percent to 20 percent between 1980 and 2008, causing retirement security to decline. When retirement savings don’t return as much as expected, some retirees are forced into returnment.

The History of Retirement and Returnment

The concept of retirement, whereby a worker will stop working and instead live off of accumulated savings, is a relatively new one in human history. Prior to the industrial revolution, very few humans were wealthy enough to imagine a time when they would not have to labor to sustain themselves. The few who did achieve such wealth generally didn’t have to work for a living, instead living off the returns of their vast fortunes. 

Starting in the nineteenth century, middle classes began forming and growing throughout the industrialized world, and laborers poured into the cities from the countryside to work in newly built factories. It was in this setting that workers began agitating for some of the new wealth being created to be set aside for their old age, and the first modern, state-sponsored pension program was introduced in Germany in 1889. Around the same time private employers in the United States began offering their workers pensions too, a practice that grew steadily up until the Great Depression, when the federal government organized the Social Security system Americans rely on to this day. 

Starting in the 1980s, however, private companies began to pull back on pension plans, shifting workers to retirement savings accounts which were less secure. This phenomenon, along with the fact that many retirees find a life of leisure unfulfilling, sparked the trend of returnment in the U.S. and across the world.

  1. Allocated Funding Instrument

    Allocated funding instrument is a type of insurance or annuity ...
  2. Corporate Pension Plan

    A corporate pension plan is a formal arrangement between a company ...
  3. Cash Balance Pension Plan

    A cash balance pension plan is when an employer credits a participant's ...
  4. Pension Protection Act of 2006 ...

    The Pension Protection Act of 2006 made several provisions from ...
  5. Unit Benefit Plan

    A unit benefit plan is an employer-sponsored pension plan with ...
  6. Advance Funded Pension Plan

    An advance funded pension plan is funded concurrently with the ...
Related Articles
  1. Retirement

    7 Steps to Create a 10-Years-from-Retirement Plan

    Workers who are only 10 years away from retiring need to do a number of things to ensure that a comfortable retirement can be achieved.
  2. Retirement

    You Might Retire Late – But Be Ready by 62

    If you want to retire later, also plan for what you'd do if you end up having to stop work sooner.
  3. Financial Advisor

    Retirement's Evolution: How to Be Prepared

    For many, retirement might not be the full stoppage of work and living a life of leisure but rather one of slowly phasing out of the workforce.
  4. Retirement

    8 Toughest Retirement Decisions

    Retirement planning today is much more complicated than in our parents' day.
  5. Retirement

    Outliving Your Retirement Savings

    Find out how this worst-case scenario can happen, and what you can do if it happens to you.
  6. Retirement

    6 Surprising Facts About Retirement

    With the shift away from pensions, workers are becoming more responsible for their own retirement needs. Unfortunately, many are falling short.
  7. Tech

    How to Keep Up With the Retirement's Evolution

    How people think of retirement is changing rapidly. Here's how financial advisors can address semi-retirement, growing longevity and more with clients.
  8. Retirement

    Common Risks That Can Ruin Your Retirement

    These unexpected bumps can sideline your post-work plans and prevent you from outlasting your assets.
  9. Retirement

    3 Steps to Prepare Financially for Retirement

    Taking these three steps can help you prepare adequately for retirement.
  10. Retirement

    Retirees are Falling Short in This One Special Area

    Here's why many of the thousands of people retiring every day are less prepared for retirement than ever before.
Hot Definitions
  1. Diversification

    Diversification is the strategy of investing in a variety of securities in order to lower the risk involved with putting ...
  2. Intrinsic Value

    Intrinsic value is the perceived or calculated value of a company, including tangible and intangible factors, and may differ ...
  3. Current Assets

    Current assets is a balance sheet item that represents the value of all assets that can reasonably expected to be converted ...
  4. Volatility

    Volatility measures how much the price of a security, derivative, or index fluctuates.
  5. Money Market

    The money market is a segment of the financial market in which financial instruments with high liquidity and very short maturities ...
  6. Cost of Debt

    Cost of debt is the effective rate that a company pays on its current debt as part of its capital structure.
Trading Center