The Top 7 Reasons Seniors Are Still Working

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It seems like more and more Americans can’t get enough of work, whether it’s for enjoyment or necessity.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that by 2028, about 23% of people age 65 or older will be in the workforce.

Money Talks News even points out some signs that might mean it’s time to get back into the workforce in “8 Signs That You Should Leave Retirement.”

Provision Living, which operates senior living communities in three states, recently sought to find out why seniors continue to work. It surveyed more than 1,000 people between age 65 and 85 who work full- or part-time.

The responses indicated that 62% of these folks work for financial reasons while 38% work for personal reasons.

Following is a closer look at the findings. The percentages we report indicate the share of all surveyed seniors who cited a particular reason.

7. Loneliness

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Surveyed seniors who said this is the main reason they continue working: 2.3%

The Provision Living survey found that a small share of working seniors stay on the job out of loneliness. Specifically, these seniors “say that their workplace provides invaluable camaraderie and they would feel too lonely if they stopped working,” according to the survey.

These seniors might be on to something. The findings of a 2018 survey of people aged 50 to 80 from the University of Michigan National Poll on Healthy Aging suggest that chronic loneliness can affect older adults’ memory, physical well-being, mental health and life expectancy.

6. Saving for a big expense

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Surveyed seniors who said this is the main reason they continue working: 2.5%

Older workers adding to their income by working must also be smart about not wasting those precious dollars.

While that sounds like common sense, you may be wasting money without realizing it. Money Talks News outlines several ways that seniors blow money needlessly in “7 Surprising Ways Retirees Waste Their Savings.”

5. To avoid boredom or fill time

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Surveyed seniors who said this is the main reason they continue working: 11.4%

The Provision Living survey found that about 6.8% of working seniors remain in the workforce out of boredom and about 4.6% work to fill time, although the survey did not explain the difference between these two responses.

Many people relish the thought of never having to work again, but for some, retirement isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. All those hours spent commuting and working have to be filled up somehow.

For folks who can relate, Money Talks News lays out a game plan for making retirement fun and constructive in “7 Things You Should Try If You Regret Retiring.” And only one of the suggestions involves a job.

4. Supporting family

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Surveyed seniors who said this is the main reason they continue working: 14.3%

The days of kids financially being on their own at age 18 are quickly fading into the past, with more parents helping support their kids well after they officially become adults.

This should not delay your retirement, though: There are numerous ways you can help grown kids financially without sacrificing your own finances, as we detail in “6 Ways to Help Adult Children Without Going Broke.”

3. Paying off a mortgage or other debt

Happy seniors
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Surveyed seniors who said this is the main reason they continue working: 19.9%

The Provision Living survey found that about 8.1% of working seniors remain in the workforce because they are paying off a mortgage. An additional 11.8% said they are still working because they are paying off debt, although the survey does not specify what type of debt.

At least seniors’ average debt load of $70,633 is less than the national average of $93,446, according to a 2019 analysis from credit reporting company Experian.

If you’re carrying debt, whether as a senior or a younger person, check out “8 Surefire Ways to Get Rid of Debt ASAP” for advice. If you need help digging out of your debt, try the Money Talks News Solutions Center, which can direct you to a trustworthy credit counselor.

2. Can’t afford to retire

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Surveyed seniors who said this is the main reason they continue working: 22.9%

About 22.9% of working seniors “say they simply can’t afford to retire at the moment,” according to Provision Living.

That easily makes retirement affordability — or rather, lack thereof — the most commonly cited financial reason for which seniors remain in the workforce. The second-most common financial reason, supporting family, was cited by only 14.3% of survey respondents.

1. Enjoy working

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Surveyed seniors who said this is the main reason they continue working: 23.2%

The survey found that of seniors who still work either full-time (17.1%) or part-time (6.1%), nearly a quarter do so because they enjoy it. That makes enjoyment of work the most commonly cited reason, whether financial or personal, among survey respondents.

Are you a senior who is still working? What are your reasons for delaying retirement? Share them with us in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

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