Are you retired, but thinking about going back to work? Do your homework first!
The reasons seniors work after retiring from jobs or careers they may have had for 40 years or more are as varied as the flowers in a botanical garden. Sometimes, it’s a necessity due to poor financial and retirement planning, but the positive reasons retirees return to work include finding a newfound passion or sense of purpose in a second job or career, enjoying the social interactions with coworkers or realizing they weren’t ready to slow down. If you’ve been thinking about finding “a little job,” starting a new business or turning a passion into a second career, there are a few things to consider before making the leap.
• While you can work and collect Social Security benefits, the guidelines and rules depend on your birth year. Visit the Social Security Administration’s website to learn what the government considers your “full retirement age” — for example, it’s 66 for people born between 1943 and 1954 — and how your Social Security benefit will be impacted when you begin earning a paycheck again. If you wait until your full retirement age, there are some instances — again, depending on your birth year — when you can collect your full paycheck and your full Social Security benefit, with no annual limit on what you earn.
• Make sure you’ll earn enough, after taxes, to cover expenses. Unless you’re extremely disciplined, there are costs to working that can add up, including commuting, parking, clothing, pet care and meals.
• Many people spend 20 years or more in retirement, so it’s important to do something you love. Consider part-time, freelance, temporary or seasonal options. This way, if you end up not enjoying your post-retirement work, it will be easier to leave the job. You may also find that part-time work gives you more flexibility with balancing work and your personal time. And the choices are endless, especially if you’re interested in turning a hobby or interest into a job. Like gardening? Maybe a seasonal garden store needs someone to water plants early in the morning. Always wanted to try interior decorating? Start by helping a friend who is redecorating her living room. Handy with tools and able to make basic home repairs? You’d be surprised by how many busy families advertise for a handyman who can tackle a few projects they’ve been neglecting or need done. Were you a teacher? Consider tutoring one or two students who need a little extra help in your subject area.
Other important positive aspects are:
• Working longer or adding some extra part-time income can be an excellent strategy for ensuring your financial security.
• Studies show that older adults who work at jobs they love are generally healthier.
• Having the social interactions with coworkers or customers and clients can improve mood.
Whatever your reasons are for considering a return to work, weigh the benefits and disadvantages that pertain to your particular situation, and then choose carefully.