The Top 5 Benefits of Working Beyond Retirement Age
Working beyond the traditional retirement age benefits more than just your wallet: Older workers experience better mental and physical health than retirees.
You probably learned from a young age that retirement is the ultimate goal and reward for years spent toiling away at your job—a job you may or may not enjoy.
It’s the shiny object in your future that keeps you going.
But what if you reach the traditional retirement age and it’s not what you expected? What if it’s not as shiny as you once imagined?
Or maybe once you get close, it moves just a little further out of reach.
What if your needs and wants change when you stop working?
Maybe you aren’t as ready to give it up as you thought.
While you’d be right to assume that workers approaching retirement age most often continue working for financial reasons, it may surprise you that just as many people keep working simply because they like it.
Some claim they will never retire.
Sure, lots of people work later in life because of increased life expectancy, better health in their senior years, and because many jobs aren’t as physically demanding as in past years.
You may approach your retirement goalpost, be in the best shape of your life, and ask yourself, “Why should I stop?”
There are plenty of reasons you may decide you want or need to keep working.
Here are the top 5 perks that come from working beyond retirement age:
Today, it’s not uncommon for people to live into their 80s and 90s. If you retire at 65 and live to 95, that’s 30 years to fund!
If you aren’t even close to having enough money saved up to bolster social security benefits, you aren’t alone.
The average Gen Xer has less than 70K saved for retirement. Baby Boomers average a little higher, at around 150K, but even that doesn’t go far in today’s economy.
The financial benefits of working longer include padding your retirement savings, paying down debt, growing Social Security benefits, and giving investments time to grow. You can also enjoy the extra income during partial retirement.
Working even just a few extra years can make a big difference in your post-retirement income.
Company-paid benefits are another sound reason to keep working. Continued health insurance could influence your ability to give up your job. Even if you qualify for government-assisted insurance (Medicare, Medicaid), it may not cover all your healthcare needs.
Though you might be in great shape now, age brings more doctor and hospital visits and prescription medication. Will you be able to cover the costs on your post-employment income?
While it sounds great—not having to wake up at a set time every day, no rush to get ready in the morning, no place you have to be—the loss of routine can be detrimental to both mental and physical health.
Most of us need some kind of structure in our lives, and going without it can be stressful and disruptive. Without routine, sleep and diet suffer. Stress, depression, and anxiety are more likely.
Routines give you daily goals and, ultimately, a sense of accomplishment.
When you continue working, you have opportunities for connections every day. Many retirees miss their daily interactions with co-workers and/or the public. Loneliness and social isolation are common problems for many who leave the workforce.
Sometimes, knowing you’ll be out in the world having social interactions every day gives you an incentive you didn’t know you needed just to get out of bed and get ready for the day.
Would you believe that nearly three times the number of people who continued working past 65 were found to be in better health than those who retired? According to a 2015 CDC study, aged workers were also found to have half the rate of cancer and heart disease as retired folk.
Of course, your physical condition will dictate what jobs you can or can’t perform. Some jobs are more strenuous than others, but as long as the job keeps you active without overexertion or injury, you can expect to maintain a better level of fitness compared to a more sedentary occupation.
When it comes to your mind, you’re more likely to keep your cognitive abilities when you continue working. You likely engage in problem-solving activities at work, not to mention learning new skills along the way.
Use it or lose it takes on new importance if you’re faced with diminished brain power. Just because the brain isn’t a muscle doesn’t mean it doesn’t need exercise!
A two-year study in Japan on the health effects of working beyond retirement age found that more than 80% of respondents said they experienced better physical and mental health as a result of continued employment.
Whether you’re forced to continue working or it’s a personal choice, think of it as an opportunity to share your wisdom with a younger generation. Even if you’ve moved into a less stressful or unfamiliar position, you have a lifetime of knowledge to contribute.
Try to enjoy the opportunity. You may find that work can be more enjoyable than ever without the normal pressures of a younger employee—career advancement, family, large debt, and lack of control.