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Delayed, Mandatory, or Voluntary: Is Welding Retirement Still an Option?

Do you want to retire, have to retire, or are you a part of a growing number of Americans that fall under both categories yet are not financially able to stop working?

One of the main points of every welding job article is that an increasing number of welders are retiring, but with all this exiting the question still remains: under what circumstances are these welders leaving the trade ‚Äď if they are leaving?


Delayed Welding Retirement

A 2001 article noted that US welders were retiring twice as fast as rookie welders are learning the trade, but surely ‚Äď with the current state of the economy ‚Äď that statistic has changed dramatically. Many welders that are 50+ years of age have lost half of their retirement savings or more due to market crashes. Without enough money to sustain a simple living, quite a few of these retirement-aged welders are still in the workforce.

Delayed welding retirement isn’t restricted to welders alone; welding business owners are also feeling the pinch. According to a Welding & Gases Today poll of GAWDA (Gases and Welding Distributors Association) members, over 70% of business owners have been forced to change retirement plans due to the economy.

Of course, not all welders and welding business owners that are delaying retirement do so out of necessity. Take the case of late-comer to the game 88-year-old Earl Prince Sr., who found a passion for welding past his 50s. Welding business owner Ken Yost puts it like this: "In 10 years, I will retire. Of course, I said that 20 years ago. I can't imagine retiring. You retire to something, not from something."


Mandatory Welding Retirement

While some welders are delaying retirement ‚Äď either out of need or love for the work ‚Äď others are being forced to enter welding withdrawal. The main culprit may be age, with lost ability to control welding equipment as steadily as they were able to in their younger years.

Retirement from one area of welding will not restrict you from entering another. Many former welders use their skills in the education area by becoming welding teachers. Others yet turn their attention to artistic welding.


Voluntary Welding Retirement

I’ve been hard-pressed to find current cases of welders happily entering retirement. I’m sure the stories are there, but they are being eclipsed by accounts of delayed and mandatory retirement.




Do you have any stories of welders recently entering retirement? Under what circumstances did they enter welding retirement, and what advice do they have for others looking forward to retirement? Even yet, is retirement still an option?



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