Retirement is a major change of lifestyle for everyone, and it’s not easy for anyone to adjust to full retirement after a lifetime of doing useful work. While some look forward to time to pursue hobbies with no need to work every day, others are left mystified, unable to fill their days with anything but boredom after a lifetime of making worthwhile, valued contributions to their communities. And the fact of the matter is that western culture has tended to treat people as old because of their age, not because of their health or vitality. However, we are seeing that trend start to shift, thanks to an ageing global population, healthcare leading to improved health into much later in life, and the growing understanding that staying active and staying connected with others, socially, lead to longevity, vitality, and a sense of well-being.
USA Today says of American seniors: “the percentage of people who work and people who want to work has increased markedly in both the 65-and-older and 75-and-older groups, says Sara Rix, senior adviser for the AARP Public Policy Institute. For 2011, the participation rate for 65 and older was 17.9% compared with 10.8% in 1985. For 75 and older, the rate jumped from 4.3% in 1990 to 7.5% in 2011.”
Certainly, there are plenty of seniors with extensive plans for their retirement, wishing nothing more than to pursue their hobbies free from workaday demands on their time. Quite a few intend to travel extensively, particularly those with grandchildren and relatives scattered far from their home base. They should feel absolutely no shame in not working if they don’t feel the urge to, they have made their contribution and should enjoy their retirement years as they wish to.
The benefits of working later into life are numerous. In addition to the mental and physical health benefits that come with staying productive, an uncertainty with the global economy is almost certainly a driving factor, as the income and benefits ensure a sense of security.
The USNews reported on a study, the researchers asked people age 50 and older the reasons for continuing to work in their retirement years. Here are the top 10 reasons they gave:
- I want to keep earning money to retire more comfortably (53 per cent).
- I would be bored not working (31 per cent).
- I keep working because income from other sources is not enough (18 per cent).
- I want to feel productive, useful, helpful (18 per cent) 5. I have a job that is fun, enjoyable (15 per cent)
- I want to interact with people (13 per cent)
- I want to stay physically/mentally active (12 per cent)
- I need health insurance (6 per cent)
- I am pursuing my dream: I have a job doing what I want to (6 per cent)
- I want to learn new things (2 per cent)
Those who still prefer a life of being appreciated by employers who value their many years of experience should have that option for as long as they wish. A sense of purpose is an important ingredient in a satisfying life, and there is no rule saying that this purpose can only be fulfilled by hobbies or travel. There is no specific age that should slow you down, as long as you speak with your doctor about your health regularly as you age. Seniors should work for as long as they wish to and are capable of.