Are you planning on working into your retirement? You are not alone.
According to a new Bankrate.com survey, 70% of non-retired Americans plan to work as long as possible during retirement.
Yes — it is becoming a new normal. But that isn’t necessarily bad news, just ask the baby boomer crowd.
“The baby boomers are now hitting their retirement stride, and their attitude is unlike that of previous generations. One boomer told me that it’s easier to work at a second career or vocation when your friends are still working,” said Jill Cornfield, Bankrate.com retirement analyst. “The baby boomers don’t see themselves as old, she said, and they see retirement differently than their parents did. When they were young, they felt they were changing the world – and they still want to do that.”
In addition to the financial benefits, according to retirement experts, working past retirement age could actually be good for your mental and physical health.
“Working during retirement brings a lot of benefits,” said Cornfield. “I’m not surprised that nearly three-quarters of people said they’d like to work as long as they can while in retirement. It’s not just the money. When you can work as a consultant or find some part-time gig, it really helps you stay sharp.”
Cornfield discussed with FOXBusiness.com what retirement-age Boomers should know about staying in the workforce.
Boomer: Why is early retirement no longer the goal it was for our parents’ generation?
Cornfield: Previous generations didn’t expect to spend more than 10 or 15 years in retirement. But rising longevity means that many people could be facing 20 or 30 years of retirement. How do you fund that many years of life without some money coming in?
These days, with fewer and fewer people receiving pensions, retirement means the need to build up a significant nest egg. The 401(k) system has been somewhat successful, but it’s challenging for some people to set enough money for contributions, and there are also problems with people being able to understand the complex world of investments and fees.
As a consumer-focused nation, Americans are notoriously poor at saving money. And as we hit the retirement years, many Americans are facing life with credit card debt and sometimes mortgage and even student loan debt.
Another issue is, how do you spend all that time? Even traveling to your heart’s content – if you can afford to do that – can become boring after a while. Some kind of work can solve a lot of retirement problems, starting with boredom, which can lead to dips in health.
Every year, it seems, more people are starting to see life without any kind of work at all less and less appealing.
Boomer: Why do you think more and more people plan to keep working in retirement?
Cornfield: Work doesn’t necessarily mean the same old grind. Many find they’re able to work part-time or more flexible hours, or find work that allows them to take off a few weeks or even a couple of months.
When you’re not so tightly tethered to a job, you can travel or find time for hobbies or spending time with family and friends.
It can also be time to pursue a career that may have seemed less practical in your younger years.
People who succeed in working after the traditional retirement age find it much easier if they begin scouting their next working phase while they are still employed. That way, it’s easier to network and present yourself as a viable candidate.
Boomer: What are some of the benefits of working during retirement?
Cornfield: It’s natural and certainly common for people to feel burnt out in their 60s or even 50s, after a lifetime spent in the workplace. It’s also really common for the boredom to set in for people who retire without much of a plan for daily life. It seems to take about 2 months, and many people say that golf or browsing shops at the mall just isn’t enough.
Working during the so-called retirement years can bring intellectual and social engagement – and of course most people also appreciate a bit of extra cash.
The thing to keep in mind is, work in retirement can be very different and bring more freedom than work before retirement.
Boomer: Are many Boomers worried about running out of money in retirement?
Cornfield: Bankrate’s recent Money Pulse survey showed a rise in the number of retirees who say they are “very” or “somewhat” worried about outliving their assets in retirement – to 48%, from 37% who said this in 2009.
I spoke to a recent New York City retiree who took a few steps to address this common concern. She met with a professional financial planner. She is delaying taking her Social Security benefits until she turns 70 in a few months. This will give her an extra $300 or so each month.
Her other strategies are some income from a vacation property and old-fashioned restraint. She has a handle on her finances and knows what she can – and can’t – afford.