Seniors Return to Retirement Jobs

Nov 18th, 2010 | By Sharon Shaw Elrod MSW EdD | Category: Senior Finances

Increasingly, we senior citizens are returning to the work force in the form of a ‘retirement job’.  A decade ago, that was an oxymoron.  Not so today. 

Retirement age in the United States is generally somewhere between 62 and 67.  Many seniors are finding that they may still have a third of their life left at this age, and give serious thought to how they are going to spend another 30-plus years.  Some find they are unable to retire economically, and have to keep working to make ends meet.  Others discover their retirement plans changed because of the death of a partner or medical condition requiring different plans.  Still others realize retirement isn’t what they expected and they choose to return to a retirement job.

More than twenty seniors employed at the Vita Needle Company in Massachussetts work because it provides social interaction, a meaningful and productive day, and desire to continue working–even at 92 and 98.   And the company’s bottom line is improved because Medicare takes care of the medical insurance issue for these employees, and many of them work part time.

A teacher in Washington state retired a few years ago, got bored and returned to a retirement job teaching children about electricity with a utility company.  Her excitement about teaching escalated when she discovered she didn’t have to do report cards and all the paperwork that accompanies a public school teaching job.  And the utility company has a very excited, competent and experienced teacher to help their customers understand the business.  A great win-win for all!

A study by the Families and Work Institute (Sloan Center on Aging and Work, Boston College) discovered that more than 20% of retirees age 50 and older returned to a retirement job following official retirement.  They indicate the new job is more rewarding and less demanding than their former career job, and they enjoy it more.

The two Senior Editors of this Journal retired in their 50s and are now managing the daily work involved in producing an online magazine that addresses the needs and interests of senior citizens.  They each have extensive writing experience, executive management experience in non-profit organizations and a deep commitment to reporting factual and helpful information for retirees.  They are now back in a retirement job and loving it!

Retirement seems to be on a re-definition journey.  We seniors are creating a new experience and the Baby Boomers that follow us will surely take up the challenge.



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