- Working in retirement isn’t always about needing income.
- Consider taking a course or two before you retire.
- Volunteer for a cause that matters to you.
The decision to work in your retirement is not a small one. While you consider the tax and healthcare implications of doing so, you also need to think about your emotional and physical well-being. Are you the kind of person who relishes free time, or do you prefer the time and social structure of employment? If you like to work, you’re not alone. A 2015 Federal Reserve study PDF opens in new window found that 27% of Americans declared their intent to work post-retirement.
Retirees and seniors have many great job options these days. Enjoy working with people? Taking a part-time job in retail will afford you the opportunity to connect with shoppers during your shift. Feel the need to stay active? Consider taking on a delivery route (mail, food, flowers, etc.). Want to engage your noggin? Check in with small, local businesses to see if they need help with bookkeeping, marketing or public relations.
If you are thinking about retiring from your career and starting a second career during your retirement years – or supplementing your retirement savings with a part-time job, here are some considerations, besides the obvious financial concerns.
What are the rules for working in retirement?
If your retirement planning has been thorough and you don’t need to work for money, you might decide to keep a job for your identity’s sake. A Gallup poll Opens in new window found that 55% of workers in the United States derive a sense of identity from their jobs.
If working for money feels vital to your perception of your own identity, you can feel confident your age and experience are positive assets to bring into any new professional environment. Entreprenuer.com lists 12 reasons older workers are great hires: from their tendency to be more dedicated, punctual and mature, to their advanced communication and organizational skills. These are also 12 reasons Opens in new window to feel good about yourself as a senior or retired member of the workforce.
Make sure that working after you retire is right for your mind, body and soul…especially if it isn’t necessary for your wallet.
Can I work after retirement and keep Social Security?
Before you decide to work in retirement, it’s important to analyze your Social Security situation. Taking Social Security at the earliest possible opportunity may seem like right choice once you're no longer employed. But if you investigate it, you'll see that taking Social Security early is rarely the right approach.
Don't make these decisions on your own. Get expert advice on handling Social Security. Your financial adviser can help. For most people – even high-income people – Social Security is the most valuable asset available. Do your best to maximize what you're entitled to.
What are the benefits of working after retirement?
Working after your retirement may seem like a strange concept at first, but when you consider all the potential benefits, it becomes much more inviting. Benefits of working after retirement include:
- Extra money
- Making savings last longer
- Health benefits from new employer
- Socialization and remaining active
- A chance at a second career/line of work
You might need some new skills
Though armed with the knowledge that you’re a job-friendly rock star retiree, you’ll likely need to brush up on several skills. You might be organized and able to write or communicate well, but the modern workplace and your new job will likely require either digital knowledge or the ability to handle ever-changing technology.
For instance, if you were a copywriter for a magazine during your career, you’ll likely need to beef up your ability to write for websites and search engines for your retirement writing stint. Likewise, machines – from cash registers to medical devices to automotive tools and beyond – have become increasingly digital and decreasingly manual. It won’t hurt to take a course or two in technology, during your preretirement years, in order to prepare for your new work life after retirement. Not all training will be given on the job, especially by small businesses with minimal resources.
What are good jobs after retirement?
There are no rules about what you can and can’t do during your retirement. Again – assuming money and medical benefits are not an issue for you, you can apply for and, if it’s in the cards, perform any task that suits your emotional, physical and mental state.
According to The Fiscal Times and (indirectly) the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) Opens in new window, U.S. workers over the age of 50 are most interested in working in a friendly environment (88%) and having a flexible schedule (74%), with about half as many preferring work-from-home and part-time options.
The Fiscal Times recommended 10 lucrative jobs for older Americans Opens in new window that fit the flexibility bill: tax preparer, project-based consultant, casino worker, market and survey researcher, nonprofit fundraiser, travel nurse, retirement coach, Santa Claus, mediator and dietician. Many of these jobs are freelance or seasonal; you’ll probably want to consider whether or not regularity is something you prefer to overarching flexibility.
Combat negative social stigmas
The Employment Act of 1967 makes it illegal for an employer to make a hiring, firing, promotion or other job-related decision based solely on age.
Knowing that you are legally entitled to professional opportunities is only half the battle, however. It’s probably a good idea to take the "prove them wrong" stance. Don’t just be the oldest candidate in the room: be the most skilled, most experienced and most professional candidate too.
Remember to dress professionally, speak with confidence, listen appropriately and convey enthusiasm at job interviews.
It’s okay not to work during your retirement
If you have squirrelled away retirement investments that support the lifestyle you envision for your golden years, feel free to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Looking to fill your new social or structured-time void? Consider volunteering for a cause that matters to you: walk dogs at a local animal shelter, visit with lonely convalescents, provide childcare and transportation to grandchildren nearby, or help coach an afterschool sports team. Your skills and experience can be of great value to your community.