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

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A new study shows that many Americans want to continue to work in retirement, and money is not the top motivation for most of them.

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.

Stacy Johnson

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