Retirement Jobs: Do you want to keep working?

I’m not trying to convince retirees to go back to work. In fact, I love telling clients that they can retire and direct their energy toward leisure and their bucket list. That being said, it turns out that many retirees love working in retirement.

Approximately 1/3 of the Uber and Lyft drivers I’ve had the pleasure of riding with over the past year are retirees. Technology has made it easier to find freelance jobs, and/or work remotely. Thousands of websites and smartphone apps offer new ways to make money. These include apps that enable you to rent out a room in your home through Airbnb, drive passengers in your car through Uber or Lyft, walk a dog or pet-sit through Rover, sell your clothing on various websites (e.g., Tradesy), or sell crafts or homemade jewelry on Etsy.

It’s not about the money…in most cases.

Most younger folks might assume that seniors continue to work because they need the money. Some do. However, 80% of retirees who went back to work said they work because they want to, not because they need to.

I was recently reading a study by a company called Age Wave that surveyed 7,000 retirees who went back to work. Here are some of the more interesting findings.

Top reasons retirees gave for going back to work was:

  • To stay mentally active (62%)
  • To stay physically active (46%)
  • To make and maintain social connections (42%)
  • Work gives them a sense of identity and self-worth (36%)
  • To earn money (31%)

Compared their career, working in retirement was:

  • More flexible (80%)
  • Less stressful (76%)
  • Less boring (58%)
  • More fun (53%)
  • More fulfilling (31%)

Most Baby Boomers do not want to fully retire:

The most attractive lifestyle among baby boomers surveyed (people born between 1946 and 1964) would be to repeatedly “cycle” between periods of work and leisure (42%); this was followed by a preference for working part-time (16%), starting their own business (13%), and working full-time (6%). Only 17% never want to work for pay again.

Volunteer, work for pay, or start a business?

Some folks enjoy volunteering or jobs that may not pay much, but that they find interesting. However, others find their encore careers to be more lucrative than their main careers. In fact, the largest number of successful entrepreneurs today are in their 50s and 60s? One of my clients joined a family member to help grow their credit card processing business. It began as a little part-time job, but has grown tremendously over the past 5 years to the point where my client is now working full time again…and had to hire a full-time assistant!

More insights from surveys of working retirees:

  • More than half (52%) of working retirees report taking a break from work when they first retired. The average length of this career intermission was 29 months.
  • 58% of working retirees said retirement was an opportunity to transition to a different line of work, or to use their skills to give back to their communities or worthy causes.
  • Compared to their core careers, working retirees are almost five times more likely to work part-time (83% vs. 17%) and three times more likely to be self-employed (32% vs. 11%).
  • And it turns out that retirees who continue to work in some form report feeling far more “stimulated,” “connected to others,” and even “proud of their lives” than retirees who stop work completely.
  • Survey participants said that working in retirement helps them stay more youthful (83%), and that when people don’t work in retirement, their physical and mental abilities decline faster (66%).

Next week in this column, I will cover some job sites that cater to retirees and folks looking for encore careers as well as potential financial impacts of working in retirement. Until then, have a great week and email me with questions, thoughts or comments: