Jobs for Seniors

To Work or Not to Work in Retirement

At least 10% of retirees today are going back to work, and the number of older Americans either holding jobs or looking for work has been rising since about 1992, after dropping steadily for decades. Increasing life expectancies, the end of traditional pension plans and rising health-care costs help account for the change.

A key question is how do you decide whether to work in retirement? First, ask yourself, do you need the money? Medical costs and other bills are pushing some folks to return to work.

Second, would work make your retirement more worthwhile? Volunteering and taking some classes here and there may keep you busy and happy. Then again, it might not feel like enough. The real question is: Do you want your life to continue to revolve around work? Or do you want more time to do things you haven’t had time for?

Third, would working in retirement help, or hurt, your social life? As you consider when to retire, it’s important to think about what’s going on around you — particularly if you’re a young retiree and most of your friends are still working.

Fourth, if you do decide to work, should you go full-time or part-time? Before you start a job search, decide whether you would prefer a part-time job with less responsibility or a more-consuming full-time job — especially if you’re intrigued by a new career that would require additional training.

One idea for how to work in later life is just starting to get some attention: holding serial, full-time jobs in retirement with breaks in between to travel, do a home project or otherwise recharge your batteries. The experts call it “cyclical employment.”

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