Benefits of Working Longer

Are you excited about retirement? Or maybe dreading it? Everyone has different approaches, and we’ve seen an increase in people choosing to work longer, with some never planning to retire. But even if you are excited, and already planning all the activities you’ll have time for, it may be a good idea to look at some of the benefits working even just a few years longer can bring.

Here, we’ll dive into some of the potential health benefits—and the definite financial incentives to working past the “typical” retirement age.

How Working Longer May Be Good For Our Health

There is a correlation between workers who stay mentally sharp and those who continue working. And while it could be that workers who are involved in interesting work prefer to keep working, there is increasing evidence that the health benefits aren’t just coincidence.

A 2015 study published in the CDC journal Preventing Chronic Disease suggested people who worked past 65 were three times more likely to report being in good health, and about 50% less likely as their retired peers to have serious health problems like cancer or heart disease. Others have shown similar promise.1

And other studies have linked working past retirement age with reduced risks of dementia and heart attacks.

Of course, that isn’t always the case. Sometimes people find working to increase health problems. Usually this is caused by one of these factors:

– Stressful working environment (risk factor for stroke)
– Physically demanding work (increased risk of injury)
– Lacking meaning in your work (adds to stress, can contribute to mood disorders)
That being said, working longer can provide you with mental stimulation and social engagement, which are shown to have health benefits.

How Working Longer Should Be Good For Our Finances

One thing financial representatives try to teach young adults starting out in the workforce is the value of compounding interest. It’s usually helpful to show someone that the amount in an account started at 25 is going to be much greater than one started at 30, assuming they retire at 65. This is all thanks to compounding interest. It isn’t just five added years of contributions. It’s five added years of building interest.

But let’s say the person who didn’t start saving until 30, retired at 70. They would have essentially accrued the same amount as the one who started saving at 25.

That’s all to say that everyone’s decisions are unique to them. It’s important to think about what you want to get out of life—and retirement. But working a few extra years can give your retirement a boost.

In fact, multiple studies (including some by Stanford and the National Bureau of Economic Research)2 show that continuing to work rather than retiring is often more financially beneficial than increasing your savings. When you’re a younger worker, increasing savings is the best way to build more interest-earning money in your account. But as you get older, that benefit slows.

Again, this all comes back to compounding interest. The earlier you save, and the longer you can keep your account growing, the better.

Not to mention the added benefit of Social Security. The longer you wait to draw on your Social Security, the larger benefit you could claim. For example, the Social Security Administration explains that a worker with a $1,000 benefit at her full retirement age of 66 would receive $750 a month if she started her benefit at 62, versus $1,320 a month if she delays until age 70.3

So Is It Better to Retire, Or To Keep Working?

We’ve seen here how there can be great benefits to working longer, both by keeping your mind sharp—and your retirement account growing.
But ultimately only you can make a plan that’s right for your needs. It’s incredibly personal—based on your goals, your health, your finances, and more. Luckily, we have advisors who can help you navigate some of those decisions, together. Contact us today to get started talking about what your future might look like.


1J Epidemiol Community Health. 2016 Sep;70(9):917-23. doi: 10.1136/jech-2015-207097. Epub 2016 Mar 21.




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