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10 Reasons to Continue Working After Retirement

By Kira Botkin

working seniorWhen you picture yourself in your golden years, are you sitting on a beach, hitting the golf course, or working behind a desk? For many people of retirement age, continuing to work makes perfect sense.

However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t balance your work life with enjoyable activities, such as vacation and family visits. Instead, going back to work can be a complementary activity to a fulfilling life. And whether it’s done voluntarily or out of necessity, working after retirement can offer many benefits. In fact, check out some of the best job ideas for retirees.

Why Work After Retirement?

Lifestyle-Related Reasons to Work

For many, working provides more than a paycheck. It provides happiness and purpose, and staying in the working world can provide many lifestyle benefits, in addition to financial gains:

1. Working Helps You Stay Physically and Mentally Healthy
Not only can working delay the onset of age-related diseases like dementia, but keeping mentally and physically active helps you feel younger longer. Working also keep you socially active and prevents isolation, and can provide a sense of purpose.

2. You Enjoy Your Work or Want to Take on a Different Role
Like many people, you may continue to work simply because you truly love your job. You may even be able to remain in the same field, but take on different jobs that are more fulfilling or require fewer hours.

3. You May Simply Want to Work Part-Time Instead of Full-Time
Working full-time usually means structuring your whole life around your job, and this can become physically and emotionally draining. However, switching to a job with fewer hours and more flexibility offers similar rewards to working full-time, but provides flexibility and more free time.

For example, my mother, as a retired middle school teacher, is leveraging her classroom experience and professional training into gigs with film festivals and theater companies to introduce children to the arts. Fortunately, this doesn’t require the 5am wake-up time of teaching.

4. You Want to Try a New Line of Work
Once you begin receiving Social Security or a pension, you may be more concerned with doing something you love rather than bringing home a large income. Many retired folk train for new careers or begin new jobs doing something they enjoy, even though it may not be as remunerative as their previous career.

For example, my father, who, among other things, was OSHA’s expert on vanadium exposure, now spends a few hours a day at a local woodworking company, updating their computer system and creating how-to videos. It doesn’t earn him a massive salary, but it’s a job he loves, allowing him to continue applying his business and computer skills.

5. You Can’t Imagine Not Working
After a lifetime spent working, many retired persons just don’t know what to do with themselves without a job. As my father once said, “Some people just don’t know how to not work.” After a lifetime of specific goals, time-sheets, and to-do lists, the unstructured days of retirement can simply feel boring.

working senior

Financial Reasons to Work

Working in retirement offers many benefits, but not all are keen to partake in them. Unfortunately, many people who don’t want to continue working must do so for financial reasons. In fact, most people working post-retirement cite financial issues as the primary reason they remain in the workforce.

Here are the main financial reasons people work during retirement:

6. Your Savings Aren’t Substantial
Saving for retirement can be difficult, and many people simply have nothing set aside. If you’ve arrived at retirement age without much in savings, continuing to work or getting another position may be necessary.

7. You Want to Delay Receivng Social Security
The longer you wait to receive Social Security payments, the bigger your eventual monthly check will be, up to your full retirement age (either 65 or 67, depending on your date of birth). If you can remain in the workforce longer and delay receiving your Social Security checks, you’ll be able to collect bigger monthly payments for the rest of your life, which can really add up.

Similarly, if you are able to delay tapping into your 401k or IRA, it will give those accounts more time to grow, and you could ultimately have a bigger nest egg built up when you do start withdrawing.

8. You Need Health Insurance
Coverage under Medicare does not begin until the age of 65, so if you retired from your previous job before that age, taking another job with health benefits can cover the gap. Also, even if you do have Medicare, you may still face healthcare related expenses, such as prescription drug costs. If you have health insurance through your workplace, using both your health insurance and Medicare’s coverage means lower costs for you.

9. Your Investments Have Lost Value
The volatility of the stock market can adversely affect many people counting on investments to retain or gain value. If you’ve lost money due to poorly performing stocks or the dip in the housing market, you may be left in a bad financial position.

10. You May Be Able to Receive Your Pension While Still Working
Many organizations that offer pensions allow employees to retire, begin receiving their pension, and then be rehired, either into their previous position or into a different position. If such a circumstance is available to you, it allows you to save your pension checks and continue contributing to a retirement account, bulking up your nest egg for when you permanently retire.

Final Word

Working after retirement can give you a sense of purpose, a connection to the community, and, of course, a nice paycheck. But it still pays to plan for retirement so you won’t have to work if you don’t want to – or if it becomes physically difficult to do so. And since most people stop working three to four years earlier than planned, it’s beneficial to ramp up your retirement savings now, especially during your early working years. Otherwise, you could face serious financial problems.

Are you retired and still working? What are your reasons?

(photo credit: Bigstock)

Kira Botkin
Kira is a longtime blogger and serial entrepreneur who enjoys gardening, garage sales, and finding stray animals. She lives in Columbus, Ohio, where football is a distinct season, and by day runs a research study for people with multiple sclerosis. She hopes that the MoneyCrashers team can help you achieve your goals and live a great life.

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  • Adam

    Great article! A couple years back, the Wall Street Journal reviewed a study saying that living to work was far healthier psychologically and brought about more of a sense of meaning than working to live. I think it speaks to everything written here.

  • http://kenrikrobin.blinkweb.com/ Knoton Kirby

    While you are working, your earnings will reduce your benefit amount only until you reach your full retirement age. After you reach full retirement age we recalculate your benefit amount to leave out the months when we reduced or withheld benefits due to your excess earnings.

  • Janet B

    the reason I went back to work after retirement is to keep active and keep my mind active too it works very well I am 72 and can run rings round my younger fellow workers

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