Afraid You’ll Have to Work Into Retirement? It Could be Good for You

Though its tempting — and common — to retire at 65, research suggests it might not be the best choice. How individuals and companies could shift their thinking for the benefit of both.

Although Americans are living longer, many people are still opting to retire at 65. Before you throw in the retirement towel, you may want to consider working into your golden years. Research shows there are both financial and personal benefits to be gained.

According to researchers at the Brookings Institution, it’s simply not sustainable for most people to live longer lives, but retire early. Plus, with evidence that seniors who remain active past retirement lead happier, healthier lives, Brookings said it makes sense for many seniors to continue working past the traditional retirement age of 65.

Unlike past generations who worked in predominantly blue-collar jobs, there has been a shift to white-collar work, which is less physical, enabling seniors to work longer. Brookings report authors Wolfgang Fengler and Johannes Koettl wrote:

… we not only live longer and healthier lives, but we also have the potential to work longer. The changing nature of the labor market also provides an opportunity for seniors to stay engaged. … A binary system of working 100 percent until retirement and then suddenly moving to zero percent at an arbitrary age of around 65 is one of the great anachronisms of today’s labor market in many OECD countries.

The Employee Benefit Research Institute’s 2014 Retirement Confidence Survey found that 65 percent of preretirees plan to work in retirement, but only 27 percent actually do.

A recent survey by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies found “a deep disconnect between baby boomer workers’ expectations and employers’ retirement realities.” Less than half (48 percent) of employers have procedures in place to accommodate seniors’ shifting from full-time to part-time work, and just 37 percent allow senior workers to take new positions that are less demanding.

Catherine Collinson, president of TCRS, said in a statement:

Employers have a tremendous opportunity to engage preretirees in succession planning, training and mentoring, which can be beneficial from an overall workforce management perspective for both the employer and employees involved. However, our research found that only 35 percent of employers are tapping into this opportunity.

Click here for seven ways employers can help baby boomers and future generations prepare and transition into retirement.

If you do want to work during your golden years, here are “7 Tips to Find a Job in Retirement.”

What are your retirement plans? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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