4 Reasons (Besides Money) Retirees Go Back to Work
By Kathryn Tuggle
Motivated, driven people who love their work -- and paycheck -- may find themselves back at a desk before they can make it to the golf course. According to a survey by CareerBuilder, 60 percent of workers age 60 and older will look for a new job after retiring. Here are some reasons you may head back to the office after you retire, even if you think you'll love being a pensioner.
1. Pursue an Encore Career
An encore career allows retirees to pursue a profession that may boost their financial stability while also providing personal fulfillment, and "the trend is catching on," says Erin Bramblett, senior human resources specialist at Insperity.
A recent Encore.org study revealed more than 4.5 million people between the ages of 50 and 70 are involved in encore careers. Popular sectors for these careers include public service, education or other opportunities that allow people to give back. "They want to do something different, stay inspired, stay informed, but they wont do their day job anymore," says Jason Ting, senior vice president of wealth management at Merrill Lynch.
"Many of them are going to use their skill set to do something for a nonprofit. They want to be able to talk to people, get to know people and learn something from another generation," he explains. "These people may not need to work, but they desperately want to stay up-to-date and feel challenged."
2. Have a Purpose
Some professionals can't imagine not working after many years of having a commitment to their career, Bramblett says. Many times, family and friends may pressure a person into retirement because they feel their loved one has "earned the right to stop working."
"They may not understand the desire to keep putting in the hours and have a purpose in life," she explains. "However, for reluctant retirees, work likely serves as a constant to fall back on and holds an individual accountable. Some simply don't know how not to work."
Many people have a large part of their identity and self-worth tied up in their jobs, Ting says. When they leave the industry or office they love, it's only natural to want to find a new challenge.
"Let's say you have a certain skill set and you've been at the same job for 20 years. When you take your skill set somewhere else, it can be a breath of fresh air. You have a new group of people appreciating your talent and it can actually be a boost your self-esteem. You feelings of self-worth increase when you see how much people value what you bring to the table."
3. Stay Physically Active
Very few people plan to retire and just do nothing, Ting says. But many people overestimate how much time their hobbies will consume.
"They say they are going to go golfing and travel, but you can't do that all the time. How many times are you really going to get out on the golf course? Maybe once per week? What is the rest of your schedule going to look like?"
Oftentimes people who leave the workforce find that they not only miss the routine of having somewhere to be every morning, but also crave the physical exercise associated with climbing stairs, walking around the office or traveling to meetings and conferences.
"A lot of our clients watched their parents retire at 50 or 60 and they saw them age quickly. They say, 'I don't want to be like that. I want to be active in my older years, and I have a lot of years remaining,'" Ting says.
4. Keep the Mind Sharp
Doctors recommend that retirees keep their minds active to avoid premature memory loss, Bramblett says. The earlier a professional retires, the sooner mental capacity can begin to decrease. According to the Center on Longevity at Stanford University, work plays a key role in keeping the mind functioning optimally.
"Retirement often ushers in a slower pace, but it could prove too slow for some," she cautions. "After many years of work, most individuals look forward to a shorter to-do list, less stress and more relaxation time. However, after the initial excitement of retirement wears off, some retirees, especially those without regular social or educational activities, could find themselves bored or lonely after having an empty schedule week after week. Going back to work in some capacity will allow retirees to once again feel challenged and socially engaged."
4. Earn Cash -- Maybe for the Family
Today's retirees are both concerned about and excited by their "longevity bonus," Ting says. "Fifty or 60 years ago, you went to school, you worked, you lived a few extra years and you died," he says. Now people are living comfortably to age 90, so you have this whole extra life after you retire. People are asking themselves, 'What are we going to do with our longevity bonus?' Yes, you can travel and spend time with the grandkids, but you're also going to need money to live comfortably during that time."
Some retirees may not need additional funds for themselves, but may go back to work due to unexpected family expenses, Bramblett says. According to a Merrill Lynch retirement study, 62 percent of people 50 and older are providing financial support to family members. "Whether it is because of a layoff, health issues or other factors, money can suddenly become tight for a close relative or friend," she says.