What does retirement mean for you? For many older adults, it means continuing to work — whether full-time or part-time.

An increasing number of Americans over the age of 65 are choosing to keep working, for a variety of reasons. In 2000, research found that just under 13 percent of older adults continued to work. However, in recent years, that number has grown to nearly 19 percent.

Why are so many older adults skipping the golf course and heading to a job each day?

Transcending Age Brackets

The trend of older adults working holds true across age brackets, including those over the age of 75. The rate of senior workers’ participation in the labor force began increasing in the mid-1980s after dropping for more than 30 years.

In some cases, older adults who return to the workforce simply feel bored or unengaged after they retire. After many years of working – finding meaning and vocation – facing empty spans of uncommitted time each day can feel frightening and lonely.

Others choose to return to work for the money; perhaps their investments have not done as well as expected or post-working expenses are higher than planned. And, with so many baby boomers retiring in a short time period, many employers have experienced a brain drain that has them making lucrative offers to persuade former workers to return.

Why Go Back to Work?

One reason to consider going back to work would be the additional income. If you’re concerned that you may not have saved enough for retirement, you can pad your nest egg by working for a few additional years. In addition, if you can wait to start receiving social security benefits until your full retirement age (depends on your birth year but starts after you turn 65 years old), you will avoid a permanent reduction in your benefits and also be eligible for a benefit credit.

However, if you’re like most retired workers who return to work, money won’t be your primary motivator. Instead, you may feel that working provides a sense of purpose, helps you keep your brain sharp, and gives you the opportunity to continue interacting with colleagues – providing social connection. These are three important elements of a person’s holistic wellness.

Making a Compromise

Some older workers choose to retire because they don’t enjoy their jobs. A majority of Americans report that they work in unpleasant — and even hazardous — conditions, and many experience tight deadlines and stress. Fewer than 40 percent of workers feel they have good chances for advancement in their current positions.

Many older adults who don’t love their jobs — whether because of negative environments or lack of opportunity — choose to take a break from working. After a period of restoration, rest and recovery, some decide to return to the workforce in a position that better suits their personal needs and interests.

If you do choose to postpone retirement — whether temporarily or permanently — make sure you do so on your own terms and in an environment that continues to bring you joy.

Source: The Villa at San Mateo