The Positive Effects of Working in Your Senior Years

Brian Hughes |
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Working during your senior years doesn’t have to be just about income. 

The National Institute on Aging reports that those who participate in regular physical activity, stay connected through social events, and keep up with a hobby have shown signs of or have reported feeling happier and healthier.1 Working in your senior years can fit all those criteria.

While many count the days until retirement, some may find that the “idea” of retirement is more attractive than actually being retired. A successful work/life balance in retirement is about understanding the options and building in flexibility.

The Benefits of Continuing to Work

As life expectancies get longer and new technologies improve healthcare, the traditional retirement age is becoming less and less meaningful. Now, many people find themselves working into their senior years for reasons outside of just the income.

One aspect of retirement that doesn’t get enough attention until the time comes is the sense of purpose and independence derived from work. You may have been in the same role long enough that it feels like part of your identity. Stepping away from that career can be a mental shift that may take some time to get used to.

To add to that, a common complaint about being retired is the lack of social connection. Since many adult relationships are formed through work, leaving a job could mean leaving close friends. According to a survey from Age Friendly, it’s estimated that more than 60% of older adults who were still working interacted with at least ten different people every day. When compared to retirees, only 15% of them interacted with the same amount. Many studies show that social interaction is a central part of a healthy lifestyle, and a lack of it can cause physical and cognitive health to deteriorate.

From a financial aspect, continuing to work can have several obvious benefits. You may be able to delay social security if you have income from a job, allowing for higher future payouts. In fact, for every year that you postpone benefits after full retirement age, Social Security will add 8% to that payout each year until age 70.

If you’re behind on investing for retirement, continuing to work can give you more time to invest and build up your nest egg. This may seem like common sense, but it can significantly impact how comfortable retirement is.

Thinking it Through

Working into your senior years has many benefits, but it’s not always the right choice. Given that stress is commonly associated with higher health risks, continuing to work a job that feels like a drag may hurt your health. However, with the rise of remote jobs and side hustles, it may be possible to step back from full-time employment to work a less demanding job that can provide additional income. This can be especially rewarding if you choose to elevate an avocation into a vocation. Hobbies are generally things we love or find interesting, so looking for ways to give them the structure of work can be particularly rewarding. 

For example, I love fishing and all things on the water.  A perfect retirement job for me would be along those lines.  Taking people fishing, captaining the local boat tours, or even working at the bait and tackle store, would be jobs I would enjoy that would also help keep me connected.  Everyone has different interests.  If you are working for non-financial reasons, look for a job in an area you will enjoy. 

The Takeaway

Retirement is one of the most significant life transitions we face. It has a different impact on every person. Whether you find your sense of purpose and community with a retirement job, family and friends, volunteering, or some other way, we believe staying active is important.  Weighing the benefits and drawbacks of continuing to work, thinking through your options, and taking your own situation into account can help determine which route makes the most sense.

This material is provided as a courtesy and for educational purposes only. Investing involves risk including loss of principal.  Please consult your investment professional, legal or tax advisor for specific information pertaining to your situation. This article contains links to articles or other information that may be contained on a third-party website.  River City Wealth Management is not responsible for and does not control, adopt, or endorse any content contained on any third-party website. The information contained herein is derived from sources deemed to be reliable but cannot be guaranteed. Past performance is not indicative of future results.