Baby boomers shun retirement in favor of second careers

Two local baby boomers who tried retirement say the life of leisure is not for them - at least not now.

"I do plan on retiring at some point," said Morris Brite.

"But when I tried it before it was too soon."

When given a choice between retirement and working, many baby boomers are opting to stay in the work force, according to "The Coming of Age," a research report prepared in part by St.

Luke's Health Initiatives.

The report states that in its annual survey of boomer retirees, the Del Webb Corp.

showed that newly-retired boomers are looking fondly back at work and almost half of the respondents ages 38 to 55 said they are considering starting a business or pursuing another career.

Work holds attractions of activity, money and social connections.

On the other hand many boomers have been forced out of jobs by downsizing or regret choosing early retirement, according to the report.

Brite retired when he was 51, but found that retirement was not to his liking.

For 27 years he had worked as a purchasing agent for a variety of employers, including the National Park Service in Boston, Mass., the U.S.

Coast Guard, the U.S.

Navy and Indian Health Services before moving to Sierra Vista, Ariz., where he retired in 1999.

"I think I retired a little bit too early," Brite said.

"I was really bored."

He started back to work again last year as Mohave County's procurement manager.

Brite's indoor desk job at the county purchasing office suits him fine, he said, although, like any job, it can be frustrating.

"It gets to you sometimes, but I like it," he said.

It also keeps him busy while the rest of the family, including his wife Joyce, who is a school teacher, and their two children - a 15-year-old son and a college-bound daughter - are doing their thing.

"As long as there are kids in college and high school you have to keep working," he said of the need to have an income.

"I can always retire later."

Although not technically a baby boomer (anyone born between 1946 and 1964) Jim Benson, 59, identifies himself more as a baby boomer than a senior citizen.

Benson, who now works as an investigator at the Mohave County Public Defenders Office, officially retired from the San Bernardino Sheriff's Office after 28 years with the department.

His "retirement" didn't last long.

Benson, who keeps himself in shape with a stair stepper, bicycle riding and 40 to 50 sit-ups a day, tried a variety of occupations before moving to Golden Valley and settling in at the public defender's office nine years ago.

In California Benson, a Vietnam veteran, went to paralegal school and at one time opened a sandwich shop with his girlfriend, Loree Neal.

When the couple moved to Golden Valley he went to real estate school and then worked in real estate for a short time, he said.

But sandwiches and real estate were not Benson's cup of tea.

He longed to get back into some aspect of law and was happy to get hired at the public defender's office.

"When I worked for the sheriff's office I conducted criminal investigations," he said.

"I am basically doing the same thing, but now I give my results to a different side.

"Instead of giving the information to the prosecuting attorney I give it to the defense attorney."

A member of several state and nation public defenders' associations, Benson said he is happy in his job, and has no plans to retire (again) anytime soon.