Should You Work in Your Retirement, and Should You Plan To?

September 22, 2019

Working during retirement sounds like an oxymoron. How can you be retired if you’re still working? Funnily enough, it’s not that contradictory. A job during retirement isn’t the typical nine-to-five career you might’ve possessed before. Instead, it’s a part-time arrangement – and may be better aligned with personal interests or hobbies, rather than big money and exceptional benefits. So, is it smart to work during retirement? Here’s what you should consider:

Additional Income

One of the greatest benefits of working during retirement is, of course, the additional income. That income may be necessary to supplement your lifestyle or bills, or you may dislike being reliant on your retirement savings. There’s no harm in padding your financial future, after all. As a plus, if you don’t need the money, you can still pay that resource forward. Taking grandkids, friends, or children on family trips, buying extravagant grandparent-tier presents, or contributing to worthy causes are all great uses for extra income.

Health and Purpose

The idea of lying back and enjoying a work-free lifestyle can be appealing to some. However, it can also become dull and boring, especially after the novelty wears off. If you run out of things to do at home or with friends, you may be left unfulfilled. Work can bring a sense of purpose that even helps maintain mental clarity as one ages! It also makes the time you spend outside of work – which, ideally, should be more than before you retired – all the sweeter, as it’s still considered a “treat” to look forward to.

Freedom to Choose a New Type of Job

When considering a job to pick up during retirement, it doesn’t have to be the same kind of career you’re used to. You could work part-time at a shelter or non-profit, do hands-on crafts at home, or work on an as-needed basis for whomever you please, controlling your own schedule.

Planning to Work in Retirement

Even with all the benefits, should you plan to work during retirement? It all depends on what you have saved and when you plan to apply for Social Security. Waiting to apply for Social Security increases your monthly payment for every year you abstain from cashing in. You may prefer to work a part-time job for a few years before applying, as that secures a more profitable financial future. Altogether, you should aim to have enough in your retirement savings that you aren’t required to get a job, just to make ends meet. If it becomes a necessity, then so be it – but don’t count on it. No one is immune from the effects of age. The younger-you that decided you could totally work through retirement might be in much better shape and health than the current- or future-you, who needs to live with the effects of those decisions.