Retirement is a state of mind not of your age
“Retirement: It’s nice to get out of the rat race, but you have to learn to get along with less cheese.” — Gene Perret
Iconic comedian George Burns, who died in 1996 at the age of 100, was famous for claiming that he had never considered retiring at all, much less at age 65. George Burns said; “65, I still had acne when I was 65.”
It turns out that George may have been on to something. For many people, there are significant emotional, physical, and financial benefits that come from working past the traditional retirement age.
Advances in healthcare, nutrition, and technology have increased our lifespans significantly. Consider this: When Social Security began in 1935, the average American lived to 61 years of age. Today’s life expectancy is around 78!
The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research published a paper recently predicting that by 2020, an estimated one-fourth of American workers will be 55 or older. The rate of older Americans working longer has been increasing steadily since the 1990s.
There’s some merit to considering working longer, especially when you consider these potential benefits.
1. Generating cash flow from work will help you delay savings drawdown or receiving annuity income which could result in an additional 35-30% in revenue during retirement.
2. By continuing to receive your workers compensation, you could delay the start of Social Security payments, perhaps up to age 70. When you delay your payments, Social Security adds an 8% bonus to your annual payments for each year you delay beyond full retirement age. This could mean up to 32% more!
3. If your company has a 401(k) plan, you will be able to continue your contributions to that savings vehicle. You might be able to take advantage of the “catch-up” provision found in the tax law.
4. You could save money on health insurance costs. Depending on the requirements of your employer’s benefits program, you could save money on your health care costs by using their plan and discounts. Many employers allow their employees to stay on the company plans even after they are eligible for Medicare.
5. Working past retirement age has health benefits. A study conducted by Oregon State University in 2016 suggested that working past age 65 could lead to a longer, healthier life for some people. https://today.oregonstate.edu/archives/2016/apr/working-longer-may-lead-longer-life-new-osu-research-shows
Part of the reason for this, researchers claim, is that there may be lowered stress levels due to economic factors.
Other studies indicate that working longer may also delay the onset of dementia and other mental and emotional illnesses. That could be due to the mental stimulation and challenges found in a typical workplace that keeps our brains engaged and active.
Of course, a lot of these benefits apply only to people who enjoy their jobs, or at least like them just enough to hang on for a few more years.
But, what if the thought of staying five more years at your current job fills you with loathing and dread?
If you hate what you do, but still want to benefit from working longer, it might be time to consider a career change. Thousands of people over 50 are discovering that the right time to change careers is actually when one career is about to end.
And, in spite of age discrimination, many seniors are finding their dream jobs and enjoying their work lives well beyond their 60’s.