Coping with High Anxiety
The Old Fogey Freelancer

Do You Need to (or Just Want to) Continue to Work as You Age?

OntheClock Hands-545394_1920There is no telling how the current global coronavirus crisis will impact every Boomer's retirement plan and income. Regardless, the notion of working past retirement age is already a fact for Boomers, many of whom don't even agree on the definition of "retirement age." The traditional retirement age of 65 seems all but ridiculously outdated. So the question really isn't whether or not Boomers need to or want to work past retirement age, but rather how long they are able to generate some sort of income.

I've previously written about the various ways Boomers can do that, from full-time employment (often in businesses they own), to working side jobs, to working part-time. I personally know some Boomers who fully intend to work in one form or another, based on financial need or just to stay active, until they simply cannot physically and mentally do it anymore. There are plenty of stories about people in their 70s and 80s -- and a few rare cases in their 90s -- who continue to work.

Planning for late-stage work is something you can do before you get there, as my colleague Nancy Collamer points out in an article for Forbes. Nancy poses six excellent questions (along with helpful commentary) that you should ask yourself if you need to or want to work as you age:

  1. Does your employer offer a phased retirement program?
    While these types of program are rare, you might be able to negotiate a phase-out with your employer, perhaps working on a part-time basis and mentoring other employees.
  2. What are your income goals?
    The more income you need to or want to earn, the more likely it is that your professional career or past work experience will need to be leveraged in a new income-generating role.
  3. Beyond earning an income, why do you want to work in retirement?
    Nancy suggests making a list of three to five reasons why you want to continue to work -- maybe its community, routine or sense of purpose. Your key motivators will help you pursue the best options moving forward.
  4. What's on your "chuck-it" list?
    You've no doubt heard of the "bucket" list, but the "chuck-it" list is comprised of the things about work you'd be happy to leave behind. Here again, Nancy suggests listing your top three to five non-negotiable work factors -- so you know what you'd like to avoid.
  5. What type of job flexibility do you seek in semi-retirement?
    Understand your lifestyle goals so you can define the type of job that is the best fit for you. Do you need a flexible work schedule? How many days per week do you want to work? Do you want summers off? 
  6. What is your appetite for risk?
    Think about how much risk you are willing to take. Maybe you are in a situation where volunteering will be fulfilling enough and you can risk not generating work-related income. On the other hand, maybe you are ready to take a financial risk by starting your own business, which may involve an investment.

These six questions are an excellent start in framing the answer to the ultimate questions of why and how you will continue to work as you age. is a Top 75 Baby Boomer Blog.


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