woman working at computer

The Changing Face of Retirement: Fulfillment Through Working Longer

At age 95, Queen Elizabeth II just celebrated her Platinum Jubilee marking 70 years of service to her people as their monarch. The Platinum Jubilee weekend culminated in a concert featuring the likes of Rod Stewart, Elton John and Diana Ross.

The common factor?

Despite being famous singers, they’re all in their mid to late 70’s.

Included in the celebration were other bands including Queen, whose original members are also in their 70’s, and Duran Duran, whose members are in their 60’s demonstrating a trend–age doesn’t matter much when you’re passionate about what you do.

Granted, not all of us are famous singers and rock stars but the sentiment is the same; retirement isn’t what it used to be and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Stereotypical retirees 

Retirement typically elicits images of older active seniors participating in activities surrounding relaxation and travel. Napping in a hammock, puttering around at hobbies, on a cruise or spending time with family particularly grandchildren. Many retirees do choose these activities but as we’re living longer, healthier lives is that enough? For many it’s not.

Studies have been done that show a prolonged working life may allow people to live longer. Granted, some need to work well into their retirement years for financial reasons but many people choose to work because of a variety of factors.

Why people are working by choice in retirement:

  • Sense of purpose: Sometimes things sound better than the reality. Some retirees enjoy the initial freedom from work but then the shine wears off when they’ve lost a sense of themselves and According to a 2019 survey conducted by Provision Living, a provider of senior living communities, of the 1,032 respondents who were working and age 65 and older, one-third of working seniors say they enjoy working and don’t wish to retire, while 20% said they’d like to continue working just with fewer hours. 45% of those surveyed said they enjoy working.
  • Staying engaged: Some enjoy the social interaction and connection their work allows especially if they aren’t married or in a relationship. Others find tremendous engagement in their work and say that it keeps them happy and mentally sharp.
  • Increased flexible options for work: Now with COVID-19 making working from home a reality, many seniors who choose to work now have even more opportunities they may not have just two years ago. For those who want to work remotely there are multiple work from home options including freelance work and consulting. If you’re not interested in just working from home there are many part time options for those who want to work but still enjoy their free time from pet sitting to driving to substitute teaching.

The numbers say this trend will continue

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, projections show that by the year 2024, the labor force will grow to about 164 million people, 41 million of those people will be ages 55 and older and of that group, about 13 million are expected to be ages 65 and older.

Though they make up a smaller number of workers overall, the 65- to 74-year-old and 75-and-older age groups are projected to have faster rates of labor force growth annually than any other age groups.

There are many benefits to working longer, finding what’s right for you is worth investigating.