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Career Advice

Why are People Leaving Retirement for Later?

If you are over 65 and you have decided to stay longer in the workforce, you certainly aren’t alone. Bloomberg notes that more and more Americans are spending their golden years at the office, with around 19% of people aged 65 or over still working (even it is part-time). This choice isn’t entirely based on necessity, either; for many seniors, staying at work is a way to maintain important social ties and to feel a sense of daily fulfilment. If you’re seeking inspiration to stay a bit longer in the workforce, take note of how later retirement can benefit your life.

Enjoying a More Stable Future

One of the most frequent reasons for working for more years is a desire for greater financial stability in one’s winter years. The recession that hit America and the rest of the world so hard in 2008 had dire effects on the savings of countless seniors – so much so that a report by academicas at Boston College found that half of all American household may not have enough money to live if they retire at 66. Being an employed senior can be beneficial, particularly with respect to social security benefits. If a person aged 62 decided to stay in employment for 10 years, their monthly benefits would skyrocket from just $1,000 to $1,700. A study published in The Gerontologist noted that late-life economic inequality has risen exponentially over the past few decades, and staying employed beyond 65 is sometimes the only way to reduce it.

Work Longer, Live Longer

An Oregon State University study found that healthy adults who retired one year after their 65th birthday had an 11% lower risk of dying from any cause. Even those who describe their health as poor benefited from remaining in the workforce, leading researchers to suspect that the social benefits of work can impact a person’s life. Many employees and entrepreneurs, especially those who are passionate about what they do, find their life’s purpose at work. For many retirees, the sudden absence of things to do can lead to boredom and loneliness. In a study published in BioMed Central, researchers aimed to gain insight as to why people kept working beyond the statutory retirement age. Their findings showed that financial benefits, maintaining daily routines, and purpose in life were the main reasons. Upon retirement, many seniors miss old workmates and the chance to interact with them on a daily basis.

What Seniors Want

Seniors who remain in the workforce are very similar to modern day millennials in their desire for flexibility. Like millennials, they are also interested in learning, mentoring others, and career progression. When The Sloan Center asked older employees at large companies about what would satisfy them at work, they defined ‘the promotion of construction relationships at the workplace’ priority, followed by a desire for ‘opportunities for meaningful work’.  Salaries and benefits only came in third. Clearly, what seniors most wanted to feel like their skills and experience were being put to good use, and that their abilities and passion could make a difference in their office and the world.

Tough financial times may force seniors to stay at work for longer than they would to, but for so many employees, staying at work is a matter of choice. For these seniors, work is a way to continue to find meaning in life, and to connect with others constructively. Of course, for many, the chance to save more money for a rainy day and improve their social benefits are powerful reasons to make an extra effort and stay just a few more years in one’s profession.


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