Why You Shouldn’t Retire at Age 66

Ask a baby boomer who they are and they’ll most likely tell you what they do. This is a generation of hard-working people, proud of their life’s accomplishments. So when they hit that 66th birthday and are eligible for Social Security, many boomers aren’t ready to retire.

The U.S. Census Bureau says the rate of participation of people 65 and older in the workforce increased from 12.1 percent in 1990 to 16.1 percent in 2010, and was 16.2 percent in 2011. Surveys show a growing number of workers 40 and over are planning to work beyond retirement age.

In the video below, Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson offers multiple reasons why you should consider working after you reach retirement age. Check it out, then read on for more information and tips for finding work in retirement.

Baby boomers – people born between 1946 and 1964 – have a lot going on. They’re living longer, to an average of 83 years, the federal government says. They have a lot of financial and familial responsibilities. AARP reports that half of all baby boomers and two-thirds of younger boomers have children under age 18 living at home. More than a third of boomers take care of an aging parent.

So, for some people, earning money is essential. But there are multiple reasons to stay on the job. Here are some of the most significant ones:

  • You need money. Social Security and whatever retirement savings you have may not cover your expenses. Plus the longer you put off getting Social Security, the more you’ll receive each month over the rest of your lifetime.
  • You love to work. Baby boomers have a competitive, proud spirit and that is nurtured through working. They’re typically confident and great leaders in a workplace.
  • You enjoy the social and mental benefits of working. Collaboration, time management, problem solving, innovation and creativity are all necessary skills on the job. Staying in the workplace helps keep those skills sharp.
  • You want to leave a legacy. For some people of retirement age, work is an opportunity to have a lasting, meaningful impact.

Regardless of why you want to work in your retirement years, the obvious and often best choice is to remain in your current job — if there is no forced retirement age.

Otherwise, here are some steps you can take:

  • Use employment services. The U.S. Department of Labor provides links to workforce services all over the country, where you can search for jobs, access training and even get help with job placement. Most of these services are free. You can also try temp agencies, individual career counselors and other job placement services.
  • Volunteer. A typical boomer spends 51 hours a year volunteering, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Volunteering keeps you involved in a work and social environment. Sometimes a non-paid position can lead to a paid one too.
  • Network. The oldest method to get a job is to network. In fact, plenty of baby boomers will tell you they’ve never actually applied for a job — they’ve always been referred to an employer by someone else. So whether it’s in person, through friends and family, or via the Internet using websites such as LinkedIn or Facebook, network your way to your next job.

While you’re at it, consider these other tips for making yourself more valued in the competition for jobs:

  • Banish stereotypes. Blow those all-too-typical older worker profiles out of the water by staying on top of technology. Take a class, enlist the help of family or use any other available resource to stay current.
  • Use age as an advantage. During interviews, concisely state how your experience and work ethic will help the company. Focus on accomplishments and how they translate to the needs of your prospective company.
  • Consider a smaller company. Companies with fewer than 500 employees have created 64 percent of the new jobs in the U.S. from 1992 to 2010, according to the BLS.
  • Be flexible. One of the greatest assets a retiree has to an employer is flexibility in schedule and type of work. Older workers may not need benefits or full-time work the way younger workers do. Part-time and project work are also great ways to prove your worth and ability to an employer.

No matter why you work, there are plenty of ways to stay engaged and employed. If 50 is the new 30, then retirement age can certainly wait.

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Comments & discussion

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  • Bob Williams

    To each their own. I am going to retire at 60.5 and can’t wait for the day. Have worked for a great company for 36 years and am starting to see some friends passing away or having an illness. Sure, I will make less, but have more time for myself.