Retirement age is just a number

Friday, February 16, 2018, Vol. 42, No. 7
By Joe Morris

Given the hive of activity that surrounds FiftyForward, a multi-faceted provider of services for adults over 50 in Middle Tennessee, it’s hard to imagine that many of them are well past the so-called retirement age of 65.

“We have certainly benefited from folks who have worked a good way beyond that year,” says Janet Jernigan, executive director. “I know that a lot of my colleagues in the non-profit world, even if we plan on retiring from full-time work, often go into consulting or even interim executive work.”

What used to be a hard stop at age 65 has become more of a step-down process for many, she says, whether that’s out of necessity or unwillingness to fully let go of the reins.

“I was speaking to someone at an event who told me that after she left her position she worked for 20 hours a week elsewhere, and then finally fully retired,” Jernigan adds. “But her version of ‘retired’ includes a full schedule of volunteering. That’s pretty typical of a lot of people, especially those who have been social workers or engaged in the ‘helping professions.’

“They retire, but they find something else to engage in that continues to give them a purpose, and also makes a significant contribution to the community.”

For more information on FiftyForward and its programs, volunteer and otherwise, visit