Working Late, Choice or Not?

Working LateAlthough it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to get there, millions of Americans are looking forward to their retirement.  They dream of the days when they can sit back, relax, play golf, and simply enjoy the rest of their years away from the rat race of the working world.

For an increasing number of retirees, however, retirement is only a state of mind.  Many continue to work past their retirement age, and some will work for as long as they live.  Why is this trend increasing?  For some, it’s health reasons.  For others, the reasons are financial.  Regardless of the why, the fact remains that there are a lot of retirees out there still grinding away.
Numbers Don’t Lie
By most accounts, the recession that hit nearly five years ago caused many Americans to have difficulty finding work.  Many older citizens decided to retire early, and some of those were out of reluctance rather than choice.  But something odd has occurred, something that seems to go against the facts.  While some retirees retired early, many of them made the choice to continue working longer than even they may have expected.
In fact, the numbers are quite astounding.  At last count, 7.2 million workers who were 65 years of age or older were continuing to work.  That is twice as many as just 15 years ago.  Since the recession started, the overall count of workers has decreased by 4.4 million.  But for the 65 and older crowd, the number has jumped by 1.4 million during that same time period.  That is an amazing 25% increase.
Working for Health Reasons
Medical technology has become rather advanced over the past few decades.  Many ailments that were once considered a death sentence, including several types of cancer, are now more treatable than ever.  And as people get older, they often feel better than their previous counterparts.  Growing older doesn’t necessarily mean feeling run-down all the time and being unable to function.  Sure, you’ll see some degradation.  There’s no way around that.  But you can also remain more active than you might have imagined twenty years ago.
Because of this newfound health, many retirees are deciding to work through at least part of their retirement.  What’s even better is that working actually improves both physical and mental health.  In fact, according to a survey conducted by the Society of Actuaries, a whopping 55% of the elderly are working in order to remain active (physical improvement), and to feel as if they are a part of something (mental improvement).
Working for Financial Reasons
Another big reason why many retirees are continuing to work is due to financial reasons.  While some enjoy having extra money to spend, many of them feel as if they have no choice.  The sad truth is that baby boomers are receiving less in Social Security payments due to the raising of the full retirement age.  Plus, it is becoming increasingly common for retirees to not have a pension, which used to be a staple of nearly every retirement plan.  This means that many are relying on Social Security as their ongoing income, which simply isn’t enough.
Another reason may be due to the stock market plunge that is still on many retirees’ minds.  While they may have recovered from that ordeal, they fear that it might happen again.  Due to this fear, some retirees are delaying retirement “just in case.”  And they may continue working until they feel that the market is completely safe.
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