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Working in Retirement.. Why You Should Think About It and How To Do It

In the past, retirement has been portrayed as an ending, a grand exit from your years in the workplace. But the rules are shifting. Labor force participation among those aged 65-74 is predicted to reach 32 percent by 2022, up from just 20 percent in 2002.1 As the Baby Boomer generation ages, more people are viewing retirement as an opportunity to enjoy the rewards of work in a whole new way. If you’re considering working in retirement, here are a few reasons why it could be beneficial.

Improve Your Mental Health

Doing things like learning a new skill can help maintain mental agility. Working, especially in a new job, is a great way to continue learning and improving your skillset. Staying engaged in work helps to build your “mental muscle.” (Read our article on the importance of wellness in retirement)  This is an effective way to reduce the risk of developing dementia or Alzheimers as well as ward off signs of aging.

Maintain Physical Health

Staying active during retirement years is crucial for continued health. Whether you choose to work full time or volunteer a few days a week, engaging in some form of work will keep your body moving. This can give you opportunities to stay balanced, strong, and healthy.

Continued Income & Delayed SS Benefits

The longer you work, the longer you receive a steady paycheck. This, of course, can help boost financial stability and grow your savings. But in addition, working during retirement may afford you the ability to delay receiving Social Security benefits.

Social Security benefits become accessible at age 62, but full retirement benefits will only be available once an individual reaches their full retirement age, which is determined by their birth date. Any benefits received before reaching your full retirement age are reduced by a percentage, also determined by birth date, ranging between 25 and 30 percent.2   

Depending on your circumstances, working into retirement may mean being able to delay benefits until your full retirement age. If you want to maximize your benefits, you can receive a retirement credit up until the age of 70 (read our article on how to determine the optimal strategy for claiming Social Security for you). This bonus percentage is determined by how long beyond your full retirement age you wait to begin receiving benefits.

Sense of Purpose

Studies have shown that a sense of purpose has been found to lengthen lifespan and quality of life.3 Working on something you care about, starting a new business, or mentoring others in the workplace can ward off depression and provide a healthy sense of fulfillment and direction in your later years.

Avoid Isolation

One of the risks associated with retirement is increased isolation, which in terms of its impact on your health, has been equated with smoking nearly a pack of cigarettes a day.4 Working with others reduces this risk, giving you a chance to build connections and enjoy meaningful interactions.

There are plenty of considerations to make before rejoining the workforce in retirement. When deciding if this is the right move for you, keep these important benefits in mind.

What if I'm Already Retired? Find a New "Gig."

According to Kiplinger, more than 400,000 seniors are now finding gig work online in order to utilize their time, and wealth, property.⁵ 

The gig economy refers to those workers who freelance, contract, or otherwise rely on ‘gigs’ to supplement their income. While you might assume that this network consists primarily of millennials and younger individuals, retirees make up a larger portion each year.

If you’re a part of this group of individuals, you may consider a variety of gigs, including driving for a ride-sharing service, renting out space for travelers or vacationers, or even pet-sitting locally.

Before You Start...

Ask Yourself If You’re Ready 

After discovering your new chapter as a retiree, making a commitment to working again can take a lot of hard work and possible uncertainty. While being dependent on the gig economy might not be for you because income can fluctuate so much, it can be a great way to spend some time doing something you’re passionate about or discovering a new interest. Keep in mind that even though you may be a gig worker, it’s still important to stay up to date on your taxes too. 

Set Your Goals

As you consider taking on gig work, it’s important to set reasonable expectations and goals for yourself by doing research in areas that interest you. Keeping in mind your earnings potential as well as the challenges you may encounter along the way are also key to succeeding in the long run. While getting started can be relatively simple, it may take some time to maximize your potential and, in turn, your income in whatever platform you turn to for your work. 

Do the Math 

If you’re currently retired, you’ve probably done your homework related to how to utilize your wealth in the most beneficial way to continue the lifestyle you’ve worked so hard to achieve. When it comes to picking up gigs, it’s important to emphasize whether you’re reliant on the income you will receive or if it’s not about the money and you’re in it for the passion and excitement that can coincide. 

If you are, in fact, choosing to work again because of your financial situation, it’s important that you understand where you are and what you’ll need to earn in order to live confidently and eventually leave a legacy of impact. 

Build Your Brand

In any industry, it is important to take the time to build a name for yourself and network properly so that you can find success. As a retiree, this is equally important whether you’re doing something out of passion or necessity. Get started on one platform initially and expand slowly so that your audience can grow with you. Making sure your reputation speaks for itself can make a big difference when it comes to spending your retirement years wisely.  

Don’t Forget About Taxes

By making it this far, you know that taxes can be difficult! It’s important to keep in mind the details when it comes to working for yourself. You’ll need to deduct taxes multiple times throughout the year, setting aside enough to cover self-employment tax and income tax. You will also need to file an annual tax return unless you’re earning less than $400 a year.⁶ The IRS website provides more information about this. 

An accountant, or trusted advisor, can always be helpful when it comes to taxes, whether you’re working for yourself or not. Additionally, there are a number of software capabilities available to help as well. 

  1. https://www.aarp.org/work/working-after-retirement/info-2015/work-over-retirement-happiness.html
  2. https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/retirement/planner/agereduction.html#:~:text=You%20can%20start%20receiving%20your,your%20benefit%20amount%20will%20increase.
  3. https://www.psychologicalscience.org/news/minds-business/a-meaningful-job-linked-to-higher-income-and-a-longer-life.html
  4. https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/five-myths/loneliness-isolation-elderly-health-problems-myths/2021/01/08/10b732ae-509c-11eb-b96e-0e54447b23a1_story.html
  5. https://www.kiplinger.com/article/retirement/T012-C000-S004-survive-and-thrive-in-the-gig-economy.html
  6. https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/self-employed-individuals-tax-center

What worked for you before retirement may not work during retirement.

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