Retirees Are Back on the Job and Liking It, Survey Says

Retirement no longer signifies the end of working life. In fact, the majority of Americans will continue to work after they retire, often in new positions with fewer hours. It’s the modern-day golden years.

According to a new retirement study by Merrill Lynch, 72 percent of pre-retirees (age 50-plus) want to keep working after they retire. And 4 out of 5 working retirees said they work because they want to, not because they have to.

Because financial need wasn’t reported as a driving factor for most working retirees, the study said, the seniors are seeking out jobs they want and working part-time hours. The retirees said they opted to work because they want to stay mentally and physically active, keep social connections and maintain a sense of self-worth. Ken Dychtwald, founder of Age Wage, the consulting firm that helped conduct the study, said in a press release:

Whether it’s continuing to do what they love, pursuing a long-desired interest or simply seeking to remain socially engaged, there’s a revolution brewing. People have come to realize that retirement doesn’t necessarily represent the end of an active life, but rather the beginning of new and exciting chapters.

The study found that more than half of working retirees took a break of about 2½ years before getting a job, often in a different line of work.

But Bloomberg said the study portrays an unrealistically rosy picture of a working retirement.

Not everyone can afford to take a few years off, and it’s not easy to find jobs that accommodate the lifestyles retirees say they want. A study this year by the Sloan Center on Aging & Work at Boston College looked at 545 workplaces and found workplace flexibility is “still a myth to most.”

“Trying to get a job can take twice as long if you’re over 55 … ,” Dychtwald told Forbes.

Additionally, 44 percent of working retirees said the biggest hurdle they faced upon re-entering the job market was that their skills had slipped. Forbes said that challenge was one reason some retirees opted to work as a consultant or start their own business.

Are you retired and looking for work? Money Talks News finance expert Stacy Johnson has some tips for you in this video.

Do you think the Merrill Lynch survey paints an unrealistically optimistic picture of working in retirement? Do you plan to continue working after you retire? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

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Comments & discussion

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  • William E Hanson

    For those who need to work in “retirement” to make ends meet, by all means, do so, but for those who work for the sake of working, I don’t understand. If you have to continue working to find self-worth, you’re looking in the wrong places. If you don’t need the money, there are lots of opportunities to serve your community; that should generate much more satisfaction than making a CEO more wealthy. Leave the paid jobs to those who actually need it; they young raising families and some seniors who has to supplement their retirement. If you want to continue feeding your high-maintenance lifestyle, maybe it’s time reassess your priorities.

  • I.Popoff

    Twenty-five years ago I felt lucky to get a federal job when I got my foot in the door at the post office. The position though, was one where you couldn’t move up to full time until someone above you retired or a new mail route was created. It irritated me that some of those impeding my progress were oldsters who had already retired from a previous career. It took me six years to achieve a career position and benefits. When I retired early I felt guilty in a way for not continuing to work, but some of this was assuaged by the thought doing so gave a younger person a chance to move up.