Why U.S. seniors aren’t knocking off work

April 6, 2018

Today, many would-be retirees in the age 65-plus demographic are not knocking off work; they are just getting down to business.

Indeed, a FlexJobs  survey of over 2,000 older U.S. professionals conducted last August found that fully 70% need to work to pay for basic necessities—and nearly 60% want to work because they enjoy it

They plan to continue to work—at least on a part-time basis—if they can find the right position.

Based on the survey results, among the top reasons why professionals over 50 work are:

  • To pay for necessities, including housing and food (70%);
  • Because they enjoy being productive (59%);
  • To save for retirement (59%);
  • To save for travel (47%);
  • To pay off debt (46%);
  • To pay for luxury items (36%);
  • To have a professional impact on the world (30%);
  • Because they are passionate about success in their careers (26%); and
  • To contribute to charity (24%).

Then there are the psychological benefits. For seniors continuing to work at least part-time, employment can ease the sometimes harsh transition into retirement by sidestepping an abrupt end to the career they may have built up over much of their lifetimes, FlexJobs’ Senior Career Specialist Brie Reynolds told CNBC.

In fact, 67% of U.S. workers said they’d prefer a “flexible transition” into retirement, the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies found in December 2017.

“Rather than committing the time and energy towards a full-time traditional job, retirees are looking for something more flexible, perhaps with part-time hours, flexible scheduling and the ability to work from home,” Reynolds said.

And by continuing to work, Transamerica found, seniors can avoid their worst fears: “Outliving my savings and investments” (52%), “Social Security will be reduced or cease to exist in the future” (48%), “declining health that requires long-term care” (44%), “Not being able to meet the basic financial needs of my family” (42%), “Lack of access to adequate and affordable healthcare” (38%), and “Cognitive decline, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease” (35%).

Approximately one in five workers cites other fears including “Finding meaningful ways to spend time and stay involved” (21%), “Feeling isolated and alone” (20%), and “Being laid off – not being able to retire on my own terms” (18%).

Research contact: @flexjobs

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