If you are considering working past age 65, you are not alone. Although your loved ones might not understand why you would continue working when you can retire and take it easy, you know that is not your path. Here are some of the top reasons why American seniors are working after retirement:
- Staving off boredom. If you have led an active, fast-paced life, you are not likely to be happy, if you suddenly hit the brakes to plop down on the sofa and watch daytime television. We all know people who “failed” retirement. They could not stand having nothing to do, so they went back to work. Some people “unretire” and go back to their previous full-time jobs. Others explore part-time work with flexible hours. If you are the person who enjoys a challenge, going into an entirely new field might capture your interest.
- Pursuing a passion. You always wanted to own your own business, open a bed and breakfast, have your own restaurant, or be an artist. Whatever your passion, retirement can be the time to go for it. You have fewer responsibilities and more time to develop your skills.
- Staying active. If you become a “couch potato” in retirement, your physical, intellectual and mental health will suffer. Working past age 65 can keep you up and moving around, interacting socially, and intellectually engaged.
- Becoming a community social butterfly. You love the local library, the parks, the community center, or the fitness center and you have daydreamed about spending more time there after you retire from your day job. Seniors are finding plenty of part-time work at places of social interaction in their communities. Now that you are not working all day, running the kids to their activities, shoehorning in the chores in the evenings and weekends, you can draw a paycheck by working at one of your happy places.
- You might need the money – Social Security and your savings might not be enough. Before we had Social Security and Medicare benefits programs, many people worked well past age 65 because they had little or no retirement income or medical coverage. The percentage of people working after age 65 is the highest it has ever been since Social Security and Medicare.
Today’s Economic Reality
Nineteen percent of Americans aged 70 to 74 are still working, and 32 percent between 65 and 69 are employed. For some seniors, continuing to work is a matter of choice. However, for others, it is an economic necessity because they cannot meet their needs on their Social Security check and their savings. Sadly, some people over the age of 65 continue to work because they are helping to support family members.
In a cruel twist of fate, the people who can make the most money after age 65 usually need it the least. White collar, well-educated professionals have the highest income after standard retirement age, and they typically have more passive income after age 65 than others, through retirement accounts, investments, savings, and higher monthly Social Security checks.
The laws where you live might differ from the general law, which is what this article discusses. Talk with an elder law attorney in your area for specific information about your particular circumstances.
Bloomberg. “Working Past 70: Americans Can’t Seem to Retire.” (accessed February 16, 2018) https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-07-10/working-past-70-americans-can-t-seem-to-retire
The New York Times. “Workers Are Working Longer – and Better.” (accessed February 16, 2018) https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/02/business/retirement/workers-are-working-longer-and-better.html
A Place for Mom. “8 Reasons Retirees Are Going Back to Work.” (accessed February 16, 2018) https://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/reasons-retirees-are-going-back-to-work/