Pros and Cons of a Working Retirement

Written by , April 28, 2013

Pros and Cons of a Working RetirementThe concept of “retirement” has dramatically changed over the past decade. While individuals in years past may have envisioned and planned for a retirement in which they move to Florida or Arizona to spend their days golfing, many new retirees have a different vision.

More individuals are looking to stay more active and involved in their communities after they retire. In fact, one of the big trends of late is retirees continuing to work (on at least a part-time basis) during their retirement years. Be aware, there are numerous pros and cons to doing so.

Here are some of the Pros and Cons to should consider when trying to decide whether to continue working during retirement years.


  • Employment Provides Current Income. Undoubtedly the most common reason that an individual who has reached a traditional retirement age continues to work is for the current income. Individuals who are soon facing retirement may find that they haven’t accumulated enough for the retirement lifestyle they desire, so continued employment can help them bridge that financial gap.
  • Employment Provides Mental and Intellectual Stimulation. One common complaint among retirees is the lack of mental and intellectual stimulation. Without the structure, challenge and responsibility of a job, some individuals find that they simply don’t have enough to keep them busy throughout the day.
  • Employment Provides Access to Affordable Health Insurance. Some retirees may choose to continue working during retirement in order to have access to affordable health insurance. Even if an individual is old enough to receive Medicare benefits (generally age 65), not all of their health care needs may be completely met under that program. Choosing to work for an employer who offers adequate coverage may be reason enough for some older Americans to remain in the workforce.
  • Cons:

  • You May Regret How You Spend Your Time. Many want to new retirees use their time to travel, pursue new hobbies or spend more time with family. Working can cut into these opportunities by imposing too any time obligations, or leaving you too tired to do any of the other things you want to do.
  • You May Reduce Your Social Security Benefits. If you’ve decided to start taking your Social Security benefits before you reach full retirement age (generally somewhere between age 66 and 67), then working during retirement may actually reduce the amount you receive each month in benefits. In 2013, your annual benefit will be reduced by one dollar for every two dollars you earn above $15,120.
  • You May Compromise Your Health. If the job you have during retirement is too stressful, either physically or mentally, then you may be putting your health at risk. Most of us won’t be able to handle the same level of job stress at age 65 as we could at age 25 or 35.
  • Even though the idea of a working retirement would have been unheard of just a few decades ago, it’s becoming an increasingly popular option. Consider the factors above to determine how continuing to work might fit into your retirement plans.

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