Retirement has traditionally been seen as being something to look forward to. The decision has usually involved very little thought: it’s been as simple as declaring it upon turning 65.
For better or worse, this phenomenon is changing for new retirees. A recent AARP study found that 37 percent of working Americans ages 50 to 64 intend upon continuing to work in some capacity after retirement. 44 percent of these select individuals intend to work in a completely different field.
The secondary careers that some of these “quasi-retirees” take are at times eye-opening. One case study saw a manager of a Fortune 500 company decide to become a high school teacher. One engineer retired just before age 60, and took a two year break, just before becoming a consultant to Google.
All in all, post-retirement jobs can be unpredictable and hard to understand from an outsider’s perspective. Although economic concerns would seem to be a factor, many would-be retirees decide to continue to work simply because they like working.
The enjoyment of working and need for novelty can manifest in trying a totally new career, or something even more involving, such as starting a business.
Getting back to the monetary aspect: although working past retirement age would seem to make sense financially, it is something that many should approach with hesitation. When you decide to continue to work, you can’t touch your IRA and many other retirement benefits.
Social Security payments do increase in value when you wait, but unless you are in good health and pulling in a substantial amount of money, it might just be smart to retire.
So for many, maybe the old way of retiring was right.