Working After Retirement – Not That Unusual Any More by Bob Lowry

Working After Retirement – Not That Unusual Any More by Bob Lowry

The concept of working after retirement is not new. Over the years many folks have found their resources insufficient to maintain an acceptable satisfying retirement lifestyle. Others have planned well, but a catastrophic medical situation has devastated their retirement accounts. Some have found themselves paying for the care of aging parents. More than half of all retirees have debts when they stop working.  Whatever the reason, having a new source of income after retiring from a career or life-long job has become a part of life for many.

Retirement does not mean the end of producing income through some form of work. But, what is happening is a noticeable shift in the percentage of those over 65 working at least part time. The most recent figures show that almost 20% work full or part-time. That is the highest level since the recession of 2008-2009.

Consider that the average life expectancy was 63 years when Social Security was first created. Today, it is approaching 80. Living well into one’s 90’s or even 100+ is not all that unusual. The number of years a recent retiree must support him or herself has increased over the last several decades. So, to retire and then begin to rework is becoming more common and necessary for many.

What is also slowly changing is the attitude among many employers. While some younger workers may have problems working with older folks, employers are beginning to understand the benefits of hiring older workers. The years of experience, the dependability and generally positive attitudes of working seniors, and often, the lack of expensive benefits makes hiring retirees who want to re-enter the workforce a smart decision.

Assuming for now that you may be one of those who wants to work even though you are “retired,” there are several options for you to consider. Your decision will be based on your skills and previous employment, whether or not benefits  are important, and how flexible you are.  If you have discovered a way that suits you, I encourage you to share your ideas and suggestions in the comment section.

The most common choice is some form of part time employment. We are all familiar with the stereotype of the senior acting as a greeter at Wal-Mart. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that choice. If you love people this may be a perfect fit. But, it is certainly not the only option. I’ve seen men and women in their 60’s working at a gym as a personal trainer or leading exercise classes for older folks. If you are in good shape and have some background in this field, why not?

For the several months leading up to April 15th, most tax preparation companies hire extra help to manage the crush of people needing help. The same situation occurs during the Christmas holiday season at many retail stores. Because your availability is probably flexible, this could be a great way to add several hundred, if not thousands of dollars to your bank balance. Amazon hires tens of thousands of seasonal workers to help fulfill online orders at their centers located all over the country.

What about being a tour guide? I did that for several years. It was fun, put me in contact with lots of people, wasn’t strenuous, and paid well.  Are you an early riser? Newspapers are still looking for dependable folks with cars to deliver their product first thing every morning. How about working at a retail establishment or big box store like Home Depot or Costco?

Betty and I have used the Uber ride service a few times over the last several months. At least half our drivers have been over 55. One of our friends is a traveling nurse. She works for 2 to 4 months in a location, hooks up her RV, and she and her husband are off to another clinic or hospital wanting part time help.

As a part time employee you are probably not going to receive any benefits. But, you do have more control over how much free time you maintain and how many hours you want to work.

Starting your own business, either as a full time or part time venture, is a serious option for many. Maybe you spent your career chomping at the bit to do something different or better than your former employer. Can you become a consultant and help those in your former industry to succeed? What about that idea for a line of colorful and unique bird houses? You love woodworking…go for it! Quilt-making, dog walking, tax and accounting services, computer setup and classes…the list is endless. Have you considered buying a business that is already operating?

Don’t forget franchising. Maybe you have always wanted to own and operate your own ice cream store, carpet cleaning business, pre-school, or fast food restaurant. While not cheap, using the expertise and proven systems of a franchise can get you up and running much more quickly than attempting the entire process on your own.

The concept of cycling in and out of the work force seems to be gaining favor. Work to earn enough extra money for a dream vacation and then stop working. After the vacation or time off, rejoin the work force for awhile,  then go off on another adventure. An unexpected batch of medical bills lends itself to this approach, too. Obviously, part time employment is really your only viable option if this is your plan. Being a consultant, tax preparer, or any type of seasonal work would lend itself well to this approach.

Cycling works best in an economic situation where jobs are plentiful and your skills lend themselves to this type of drop-in/drop-out work. Like any part time work, benefits will probably be non-existent, but more control over your schedule is likely.

If you think working again might be right for you but aren’t sure what to do, the web site Fifty Best After Retirement Business ideas has some excellent suggestions.

One caution: remember that before your full retirement age (probably 66) there is a limit to how much you can earn before Social Security benefits are reduced. After that age, you are free to earn as much as you can with no reduction.

You can also contribute to a traditional IRA until age 70 1/2  or a Roth IRA at any age. If you don’t need all the extra money earned while working, this is a good way to pad your retirement accounts.

Personally, I am pleased to see working after retirement is a very viable possibility for many. The desire to remain productive, be part of a group of people working together, and providing extra financial support help make this stage of life more satisfying. It can open up opportunities for travel and personal growth or support for other family members. Not all of us want to return to a lifestyle we happily left, but having that option is good.

By Bob Lowry

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