Seniors Choosing To Work Longer

Many Seniors Are Choosing to Work Longer

Updated on Apr 30 2019

The first day of May marks May Day, a celebration with a long and varied history dating back millennia. Spanning years and the globe, May Day not only marks the welcoming of spring but, in the 19th century, it took on new meaning as an International Workers’ Day with the 19th-century movement for labor rights taking shape in the United States.

This May Day, we are honoring the American seniors who are choosing to remain in the workforce - whether for enjoyment or for better quality of life. Learn more about why seniors are choosing to stay in the workforce longer than ever before.

Boomers a Growing Segment of the Workforce

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 40 percent of people ages 55 and older were working or actively looking for work in 2014. That number is expected to increase the fastest for Americans 65 and older through 2024, while other age cohorts are expected to stay about the same. This reflects a changing workforce where, up until recently, workers 55 and older comprised the smallest fraction of the workforce. Americans aged 65 to 74 still make up the smallest number of workers but they are projected to have a raster rate of labor force growth annually than any other age group.

Additionally, a Pew Research Center analysis of federal employment data found that the number of seniors (older than 65) employed jumped from 12.8 percent in May 2000 to 18.8 percent in May 2016. In the same time span, workers 75 and older increased from 5.4 percent to 8.4 percent.

While these workforce changes are largely fueled by the fact that there are more seniors than ever before, largely due to the aging boomer generation, there are other factors keeping seniors in the workforce.

Reasons Why Seniors are Choosing to Remain in the Workforce

1. Changes in retirement policies

Fewer employees receive fixed pensions today so there is no true retirement age. There is no date to earn maximum benefits and more years of work brings more income. Additionally an increase in delaying Social Security benefits until full retirement age has also encouraged seniors to stay in the workforce, having an income until they can maximize those benefits.

2. Longevity and improved health

Many seniors are working longer simply because they can. While a health crisis can strike at any point, the truth is that Americans are living longer than ever and staying healthy into old age. With these changes, seniors can work longer, and many find purpose and happiness in having a career.

3. Less physically demanding jobs

With technological advances, many seniors are able to stay working for longer as jobs for seniors have become less physically demanding. The Pew Research Center survey found that today’s seniors are more likely to work in management or sales than construction or food service, which would be more physically demanding.

4. Maintaining independence

A decline in mental and physical health has been associated with quitting the workforce. Work provides unique opportunities for learning, developing reasoning skills, and social engagement - all of which can help seniors stay mentally and physically active.

Contact a fiduciary financial advisor today to explore your retirement options. Your trusted advisor can help you create a plan that keeps you working as long as you want to work, reaping the financial, physical, and mental benefits of remaining in the workforce, while having a solid financial plan for when you want to retire.

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