10 Stats About Working in Retirement

Senior man working from home
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This story originally appeared on FlexJobs.com.

To be sure, many retirees finally have the time for fun stuff like hobbies, travel or spending more time with family. However, stats about retirees indicate that many are looking for more.

Often, the new retirement plan is to keep working. And if the stats about working in retirement are any indication, the new way to retire could include a job.

Check out these stats about retirees that shed new light on what retirement means today.

1. Working retirement plans

saving income
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Roughly 65% of baby boomers say they view retirement as way off in the distance — or they don’t plan to retire at all, according to a 2014 survey of people born between 1946 and 1964. The same survey found that 26% of boomers had a “back-up” plan for retirement income, with 14% actively keeping tabs on the job market for that post-retirement job.

By 2019, attitudes about retirement hadn’t changed much. Another survey found that 27% of respondents who were currently planning their retirement planned to work at least part time during their golden years. And, of those who were already retired, 19% were working part time.

2. Who is retired and who is working?

A senior man at work
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In 2014, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that approximately 40% of those age 55 and over were working or actively looking for work. It also predicted that by the end of 2024, 41 million people over the age of 55 (with 13 million in that group over the age of 65) would be engaged in the labor force.

The U.S. Census Bureau reported that in 2015, there were 4.6 million men and 3.7 million women in the labor force who were over 65 years old. A total of 5.3 million full-time workers were 65 or older.

In a 2018 survey by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies of those who were already retired (defined as age 50 or older), 11% described themselves as semi-retired, with 9% working for pay. Meanwhile, 5% were part-time, 2% were full-time and 2% were self-employed. Another 2% of respondents were looking for work.

3. Why do they work?

A black senior man drives a forklift at work
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Retirees cite several reasons for continuing to work during their golden years. The Transamerica study found the most common reasons retirees continue working are:

  • Financial reasons (56%)
  • Enjoying what they do (47%)
  • Being or staying active (47%)
  • Keeping their brain alert (34%)
  • For a sense of purpose (27%)

4. Financial security is a concern

Senior worker
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Of those who reported they worked during their retirement, 56% said it was because they wanted the income, as opposed to needing it. However, while 17% of respondents said they felt they had enough money for retirement, 73% were not satisfied with their retirement nest egg.

In 2017, research by AARP found that although 72% of all workers and 80% of retirees had personally saved money for retirement, 31% of workers and 29% of retirees reported having saved less than $25,000. The same survey found that while 67% of workers and 82% of retirees were at least somewhat confident they could live comfortably during their retirement, 58% of workers and 44% of retirees were not confident they would have enough money to pay for long-term care.

By 2019, worker sentiment wasn’t any better. A survey from GOBankingRates found that 64% of U.S. workers expected to retire with less than $10,000 in retirement savings. When asked to estimate how much money they had put away for retirement, 46% of respondents claimed they had no retirement savings at all.

5. Women are less confident about retirement security

Senior Woman Paperwork
Iakov Filimonov / Shutterstock.com

Motivation to continue working “after retirement” may be stronger for women than for men, generally speaking. Why? Uncertainty over finances. Just 14% of women felt confident that they would be able to maintain a comfortable lifestyle after retirement, according to a 2015 survey by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies.

Transamerica found similar results again in 2019. While 29% of men were confident they could retire comfortably, 45% of women were not confident they could retire comfortably.

6. The pandemic

Senior woman working from home
Dragana Gordic / Shutterstock.com

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted the financial fortunes of every generation. Whether already retired or not, a FlexJobs survey found that 32% of older workers were looking for part-time or gig work to help shore up their finances. When asked, 12% of older workers (age 50 or older) stated that they dip into their retirement savings to help make ends meet.

7. Health in older age is a concern

Home health aide
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Although many people would say they are in good or excellent health today, most are not taking the steps necessary to ensure they remain healthy into retirement. According to another Transamerica survey, 89% of workers and retirees in the U.S. are concerned about their health in older age. According to the survey, however, only 58% percent of the respondents eat healthfully, 56% exercise regularly, 55% avoid harmful behaviors and 43% think about health when making lifestyle choices.

8. Closing the health care coverage gap

BlurryMe / Shutterstock.com

A couple (both age 65 in 2020) will need at least $295,000 in 2020 dollars to cover medical expenses during their retirement. Most of today’s retirees will have Medicare as their primary insurance provider and won’t have access to employer or union-sponsored health benefits. Medical expenses can amount to 15% of a couple’s annual expenses, and that figure does not include any long-term care.

9. Fueling the demand for flexibility

Senior at a computer
Stocklite / Shutterstock.com

Some 94% of workers who are planning to retire would prefer flexible work arrangements in retirement, the Center for a Secure Retirement found in a 2015 study. About 56% hoped to find flexible hours, 20% hoped to find remote work options, 17% wanted a compressed schedule and 14% were seeking job-sharing arrangements.

10. Finding a career with a purpose

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More than 4.5 million people between the ages of 50 and 70 are working in social impact careers, according to Encore.org. Additionally, some 21 million more soon-to-be-retirees are waiting to transition from a job done for a paycheck to a flexible career “with a purpose.”

Work how you want

Consultant woman
fizkes / Shutterstock.com

There are plenty of flexible and remote jobs that are perfect for retirees and can be done from the safety and comfort of home. If your retirement plans include working part-time, flexibly or even full-time, consider joining FlexJobs. We update our job postings every day with the legitimate work-from-home jobs that are perfect for retirees, the semi-retired and everyone in between.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

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