4 reasons to work in retirement


If you are working in retirement, or even thinking about it, then join the crowd. According to a survey from Merrill Lynch, almost half of retirees have worked, or plan to work, sometime during retirement. And almost three quarters of workers over 50 say they will likely work in some form after they retire.

Some retirees go back to work because they need the money. But today, most people can look forward to longer lifespans, and they may not want to spend all that time in retirement. So many people keep working, or they retire and move on to another job. Other people don't view retirement as an extended vacation, like their parents may have. They want to stay engaged in a purposeful activity that contributes to society.

[See: 10 Alternatives to Full-Time Retirement.]

To be sure, working in retirement is often associated with people who have interesting jobs in the arts, education or business. They often possess special skills that allow them to stay on the job or retire to a part-time consulting position.

But professionals are not the only ones working in retirement. Many people quit the rat race, then take a lower-paying but less stressful job – sans the office politics. You may have to swallow a little pride because you no longer get invited to power lunches, but you can work at your own pace and enjoy the flexibility of a scaled-down schedule.

Here are four issues to keep in mind as you consider working in retirement.

Retirees are not necessarily slowing down. Age 65 is the traditional retirement age. But life expectancy has increased over time. Americans can now expect to live well into their 70s, and many of us will keep on ticking through our 80s and into our 90s. Our extended lifespans often come with additional years of good health. In addition, despite lingering age discrimination, studies show that our mental capabilities do not decline significantly until we become quite elderly. What we lose in quick thinking we make up for with more experience and better judgment.

See the average retirement age in every state:

51 PHOTOS
Average retirement age in every state
See Gallery
Average retirement age in every state

Alabama - Age 62

Via Smart Asset

Photo: Getty

Alaska - Age 65

Via Smart Asset

Photo: Getty

Arizona - Age 63

Via Smart Asset

Photo: Getty

Arkansas - Age 62

Via Smart Asset

Photo: Getty

California - Age 64

Via Smart Asset

Photo: Getty

Colorado - Age 64

Via Smart Asset

Photo: Getty

Delaware - Age 62

Via Smart Asset

Photo: Getty

Connecticut - Age 64

Via Smart Asset

Photo: Getty

Florida - Age 63

Via Smart Asset

Photo: Getty

Georgia - Age 62

Via Smart Asset

Photo: Getty

Hawaii - Age 63

Via Smart Asset

Photo: Getty

Idaho - Age 63

Via Smart Asset

Photo: Getty

Illinois - Age 63

Via Smart Asset

Photo: Getty

Indiana - Age 63

Via Smart Asset

Photo: Getty

Iowa - Age 64

Via Smart Asset

Photo: Getty

Kansas - Age 65

Via Smart Asset

Photo: Getty

Kentucky - Age 62

Via Smart Asset

Photo: Getty

Louisiana - Age 63

Via Smart Asset

Photo: Getty

Maine - Age 64

Via Smart Asset

Photo: Getty

Maryland - Age 64

Via Smart Asset

Photo: Getty

Massachusetts - Age 64

Via Smart Asset

Photo: Getty

Michigan - Age 62

Via Smart Asset

Photo: Getty

Minnesota - Age 63

Via Smart Asset

Photo: Getty

Mississippi - Age 63

Via Smart Asset

Photo: Getty

Missouri - Age 63

Via Smart Asset

Photo: Getty

Montana - Age 63

Via Smart Asset

Photo: Getty

Nebraska - Age 65

Via Smart Asset

Photo: Getty

Nevada - Age 63

Via Smart Asset

Photo: Getty

New Hampshire - Age 65

Via Smart Asset

Photo: Getty

New Jersey - Age 65

Via Smart Asset

Photo: Getty

New Mexico - Age 63

Via Smart Asset

Photo: Getty

New York - Age 64

Via Smart Asset

Photo: Getty

North Carolina - Age 63

Via Smart Asset

Photo: Getty

North Dakota - Age 63

Via Smart Asset

Photo: Getty

Ohio - Age 63

Via Smart Asset

Photo: Getty

Oklahoma - Age 63

Via Smart Asset

Photo: Getty

Oregon - Age 63

Via Smart Asset

Photo: Getty

Pennsylvania - Age 63

Via Smart Asset

Photo: Getty

Rhode Island - Age 64

Via Smart Asset

Photo: Getty

South Carolina - Age 62

Via Smart Asset

Photo: Getty

South Dakota - Age 63

Via Smart Asset

Photo: Getty

Tennessee - Age 63

Via Smart Asset

Photo: Getty

Texas - Age 64

Via Smart Asset

Photo: Getty

Utah - Age 65

Via Smart Asset

Photo: Getty

Vermont - Age 65

Via Smart Asset

Photo: Getty

Virginia - Age 63

Via Smart Asset

Photo: Getty

Washington - Age 64

Via Smart Asset

Photo: Getty

West Virginia - Age 62

Via Smart Asset

Photo: Getty

Wisconsin - Age 63

Via Smart Asset

Photo: Getty

Wyoming - Age 65

Via Smart Asset

Photo: Getty

HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

[See: 10 Places to Retire on a Social Security Budget.]

You're no longer expectedto retire. A century ago, retirement was almost unheard of. But Social Security, pensions and the post-war economic boom allowed more people to retire. At the same time, medical advances ushered in a longer life span, and many people can look forward to 20 or 30 years of retirement. For many retirees, this is too much time with nothing to do. They want to continue to contribute and be useful. Then there's the issue of financing retirement. It's one thing to spend a few of your twilight years without a paycheck, but quite another to finance two or three decades with no salary. And for better or worse, the government has recognized this new reality, raising the full retirement age for Social Security from 65 to 66 and soon to 67. If you retire at 65, you may be lonely because your friends are still at work.

Retirees work because they want to, not because they have to. Few people will turn down extra income, but many retirees work more for experience than money. Not everyone can afford to work for nothing, but many retirees say they work more for social interaction, mental stimulation and a feeling of self-worth. They volunteer their services to a cause they believe in, or work for an organization that may not pay as well, but offers them more self-fulfillment.

[See: The Best Places to Work in Retirement.]

You have a dream. Some people just keep on doing what they've been doing all their lives. But others have a long-held dream they can now pursue. A marketing executive goes to work in his hometown as a real estate agent, or a college athlete retires from business to coach a school sports team. Many others take time off to rediscover what truly holds their interest. They may supplement their income by reviving a forgotten talent, or they learn a new skill, meet new people and try something they never would have considered when starting their career. When you work in retirement, you don't have to feel pressured to work for the highest bidder. You can truly work for yourself.

Tom Sightings is the author of "You Only Retire Once" and blogs at Sightings at 60.

Copyright 2016 U.S. News & World Report

Now check out the best selling retirement planning books:

11 PHOTOS
Amazon's best selling retirement planning books
See Gallery

Read Full Story

Can't get enough retirement news?

Sign up for Finance Report by AOL and get everything from Social Security updates to savings tips delivered directly to your inbox daily!

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.