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Horizon Elder Law & Estate Planning Blog

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Forget bingo! More Americans are working part-time in retirement - Why Are More Seniors Opting to Work During Retirement?

More Americans are working past retirement than ever before. As baby boomers hit the big 65, more and more are opting to continue working. Why are so many seniors choosing to spend their golden years in offices rather than at home? According to California elder law attorneys, there are a number of reasons, not the least of which, is the high cost of aging.

The Data on Seniors Working Past Retirement

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 20 percent of Americans over 65 are working; one in every five US adults past retirement age is engaged in some form of employment. That’s the highest number since 1960.

The percentage has been growing steadily. In 2000, 12.8 percent of seniors aged above 65 were working. Today, the percentage is 18.8 percent. It is projected that seniors’ participation in employment will be 23 percent in 2022.

Older workers are increasingly choosing to work full time rather than part time. Since 1995, more seniors have been working full time than part time. Today, nearly two out of every three working seniors have a fulltime job requiring 35 plus hours a week.

The concept of retirement is increasingly being disregarded among working adults. A 2015 Federal Reserve study found that 27 percent of US residents said they would be working for as long as was possible. Up to 72 percent of pre-retirement respondents in a Merrill Lynch/Age Wave study said their retirement plans involved some form of work.

Why Are So Many Seniors Choosing to Work after Retirement?

There are plenty of reasons why seniors are opting out of retirement:

  1. Aging is Expensive

    Financial concerns are the main reason seniors are still working. Up to 60 percent of US households have no savings in a 401(k) account. A very large number of private sector workers retire with no savings. For these people, working even after retirement is the only way to earn a living. 
    No federal law requires employers to offer 401(k) or IRA plans. However, some states have enacted laws requiring employers to withhold a percentage of their workers’ salaries for retirement. These are Connecticut, Maryland, Illinois, New Jersey, Oregon, California and Washington. 
  2. Longer Life Spans and High Medical Costs 

    Americans are living longer than they were a decade ago. Longer life expectancy coupled with high medical costs has seen many retirees burning through their retirement funds quickly. This phenomenon has compelled many seniors to work in their golden years. 
  3. Deferring Spending Retirement Funds

    According to financial experts, every year a retiree works without drawing from a retirement account is an asset. Social security benefits barely provide enough income and deferring claiming of these benefits will lead to increased premiums. 
    According to the AARP, a person who is to retire at 66 entitled to $1,500 per month in perpetuity will only receive $1,125 if she retires at 62 and $1,980 if she retires at 70.
  4. Seniors Want to Keep Active

    Some seniors just don’t want to stay at home watching television or knitting all day. They prefer to keep active, engage their minds and bodies, and to connect socially with others through work. 

  5. Seniors Love Their Work

    A large percentage of seniors choose to remain in employment because they actually love their work. This is more likely the case with college-educated seniors.

    Getting older in the U.S. is expensive, so it pays to start planning early for your retirement needs. Contact Horizon Elder Law and Estate Planning today to plan for your retirement. 


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