By Marsha Gozhansky, Career Coach
Did you know that almost one third of Americans between the ages of 65 and 70 are still working? Maybe you are among them. Even more remarkable, about 7 percent of Americans older than 75 are still on the job, according to the NPR series, “Working Late.”*
Today, fourteen percent of the U.S. population is over age 65. By the time the last Baby Boomer retires, one-fifth of all Americans will fall in that age group. Retirement of the largest generation in history will not only test the limits of government programs such as Medicare and Social Security, but will also help reshape the definition of retirement itself.
Millions of Baby Boomers are fast approaching retirement age and asking themselves if they can afford it. Unfortunately, because many middle-class boomers will run out of money in their later years, some will have to delay retiring, while others will have to go back to work. In the Career Center at JCS we are already seeing people coming out of retirement because they need to supplement their income.
Many other boomers think that they’re fine with staying in the work force or working at least part time. The stereotypical idea of being passive in retirement is not what they are planning for the rest of their lives. How they will approach their so-called “golden years” and what is the right thing to do — retire or not, and when – are very personal questions.
This is the time for boomers to think carefully about their employment decisions and to take action by being their own best advocates. People over age 65 today are healthier, living longer, and have strong economic reasons to stay in the workforce. Many are postponing retirement because of the instability of their financial resources or because of family obligations, such as being the sole provider. Others fear boredom and not knowing what they’d do with all that free time.
“[When we] combine the retirement income crunch with the dramatic increase in life expectancy, continued employment in later life appears like a promising option for ensuring the financial security of older Americans,” says Alicia Munnell, Director, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.
The financial benefits of a longer working life go without saying. But seniors who remain in the labor force, even in part-time jobs, also find that working helps them maintain their physical and mental well-being. They enjoy the interaction with people and say they like their work, finding it a source of their identity and meaning in life.
For people with savings, the options of changing to part time jobs, or to new careers in which they can apply their interest hobbies, education and experience, as well as getting involved in volunteer activities, can provide the same anti-aging benefits and opportunities to enjoy their retirement.
By Marsha Gozhansky, Career Coach, The Career Center at Jewish Community Services, Baltimore, MD
JCS offers a full range of career services. For more information about JCS Career services click here or call 410-466-9200.
*Ina Jaffe on National Public Radio, Feb. 13, 2013