Sunday, September 15, 2013

More People Working After Age 65

Our concept of retirement has changed drastically over the past few years.  In fact, some people don't seem to be retiring at all ... and certainly not at the traditional age of 65.  The local newspaper for our retirement community, "The Laguna Woods Globe," reported this week that by 2019 approximately one in five seniors will be working either full or part-time after the age of 65.  Already, the number of workers in that age group has increased from 4.5 million to 7.5 million in the past ten years, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.  That's a whopping 60% increase in a decade!

Reasons Why Seniors are Working Longer

The article in "The Laguna Woods Globe" listed several reasons for this increase in the number of senior citizens who are still working, and I have added a few more reasons we have heard from some of the retirees we know who still work.

First, many Baby Boomers have not done a good job of retirement planning.  As a result, they are unable to survive on their low Social Security benefits, yet they have no savings to provide additional income.  Their only solution is to keep working as long as they possibly can.  The extra years of work also increases the size of their Social Security payments, so the benefits from working longer can help in several ways.

Second, even when people have saved some money towards their retirement, they may not have expected to enjoy such a long life expectancy after retirement.   When I was young, we were told that the average life expectancy was 72, which meant we only anticipated living a decade or less after we retired.  As I got older, life expectancy increased to 78.  Now that I am in my 60's, I have read that the average life expectancy can be as high as age 88 for people who are healthy at age 65.  That means you may need enough savings to last 25 to 30 years after retirement ... and even more if there is a lot of longevity in your family.  Many people who thought they were prepared for retirement are discovering that they failed to save enough.

Third, a number of companies that used to provide pensions to their employees have reduced or eliminated this benefit.  People who thought they would be able to live off the combination of their pension and Social Security may have much less retirement income than they expected.

Fourth, boredom is another reason for continuing to work past the traditional retirement age.  Some people use this time of life to pursue a career that they always dreamed of ... like becoming a blogger!  Others may continue to work part-time in their former careers, such as becoming a substitute teacher or business consultant. 

Fifth, many Baby Boomers are still healthy and they simply do not want to sit at home.  They would rather work and use the extra money to travel and have fun.  As one person in my local newspaper said, she doesn't need the money, but it sure "comes in handy."

Finally, sometimes seniors are involved in meaningful careers that they do not want to give up.  Many actors and religious leaders, such as the priests in the above picture, continue to work long past the traditional retirement age.  A nun I know is almost 80, yet she still travels all over the world leading spiritual retreats.  I have attended a few of her retreats, and she is still very energetic and a dynamic speaker.  One of the women in my bookclub is married to a physician.  She says he intends to work as long as he possibly can, because he believes that what he is doing contributes to society and he enjoys it.  Isn't that the best reason of all to keep working past age 65?  My own husband is still working, even though he is almost 69.  He really loves his job!

If you plan to work past age 65, I would love to hear the reason you made that decision.  Please feel free to mention it in the comments section of this article.

Meanwhile, if you are doing your retirement planning, you may be interested in reading some of the other articles from this blog.  They are listed alphabetically by topic with links in the the index articles listed below:

Gifts, Travel and Family Relationships

Great Places for Boomers to Retire Overseas

Great Places to Retire in the United States

Health and Medical Topics for Baby Boomers

Money and Financial Planning for Retirement

You are reading from the blog:  http://baby-boomer-retirement.blogspot.com

Photo of elderly priests is courtesy of www.morguefile.com

Source of Statistics:

"Working Late," Laguna Woods Globe by the Orange County Register, August 29, 2013.


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