Why aren’t Americans retiring and staying retired? According to Bloomberg News, more seniors are employed now than any time since the 1960s, when Social Security benefits were vastly improved. Almost one in five adults over the age of sixty-five is still working.
What is behind this trend?
Researchers say there are a variety of reasons older adults continue or return to work, and they extend beyond financial concerns.
Why Are Seniors Still Working?
Here are a few of the most common reasons older adults stay in the workforce:
1. Economic uncertainty: Financial fears are a leading reason. Some seniors, especially those without a pension, feel uncertain about their economic future. Older adults who work are often concerned they will outlive their savings or encounter unexpected expenses. They also worry about Social Security being threatened and the rollercoaster ride the stock market has been on. Continuing to work, at least part-time, gives them peace of mind.
2. Health care expenses: With the cost of health care skyrocketing, especially prescription drugs, it’s easy to understand why older adults might feel the need to keep working. Medical expenses can take a big bite out of a retiree’s budget.
3. Pursue entrepreneurial dreams: Another reason an older adult might head back to work is because they are starting a business of their own. It may be a lifelong dream put on hold for their family’s financial stability. Retirement is their time to pursue it. This trend, referred to as encore entrepreneurship, has grown by ten percent over the last twenty years. In 1996, adults between the ages of fifty-five and sixty-four accounted for less than fifteen percent of new entrepreneurs. By 2016, the number had climbed to twenty-five percent.
4. Personal fulfillment: Some seniors retire and take a few years off to relax, travel, and generally enjoy life. Then they might grow bored and struggle to find meaning. Finding a job with a not-for-profit organization allows the older adult to live a more purpose-driven life while earning extra money.
5. Family support: Another trend that’s been on the rise for several decades is grandparents raising their grandchildren. Some 2.6 million people are bringing up their grandkids, a figure that has doubled over the last decade. The expenses associated with this unexpected lifestyle can keep an older adult in the workforce longer.
Whatever the reason, it’s obvious baby boomers are redefining what retirement means.
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