Why are So Many Retirees Returning to the Workforce

September 12th, 2014   |   Posted by

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Why are So Many Retirees Returning to the Workforce

Most people imagine themselves comfortably retired by age 65, spending golden afternoons in a golf course or gardening and whatnot. But this kind of mindset is fast becoming a thing of the past. The future of retirement looks like a lot of work, literally.

To the more indolent of workers among us pushing retirement age past 65 can feel like serving detention at Her Majesty’s pleasure. To the younger generation, today’s Millennials, it may be nothing but a vague notion, if at all. But the irony is many who have retired spend their precious idle hours thinking about returning to the workforce.

That’s because work is a potent force in our individual state of well-being, and leisure is not automatically equatable to travelling and lazy afternoons. A number of people choose to remain productive past retirement because they enjoy it. For them work is a form of leisure, a hobby, and entertainment – the mere thought of retirement would bring about mental distress.

And at 65 or above, if you are working because you want to, NOT because you have to, thank your luck stars. Many of today’s older workers continue working for financial reasons: increasing costs of healthcare and living expenses oftentimes aggravated by insufficient financial planning, just to name a few of the usual suspects. Eurostat figures published in 2012 indicate that close to one in five carry on with working after 65 in the UK. An increasing number of seniors are opting to stay in the labour force, not just to support themselves, but to help provide the much needed resources to help sustain the needs of younger family members.

The New Golden Age of Ageing

It may be high time for us to rethink how we perceive retirement and to stop conditioning ourselves and younger generation of workers into thinking that we can only be happy after we retire. Retirement is no longer defined by putting an end to our working lives, and, by age 60 and above, we are generally at the “golden age” or peak of our skills and talents.

Many retirees who endeavoured to capitalise on their abundant skills and experience, honed from spending decades after decades working in a specialised industry, found success in doing consulting work. Tinkerers can become handymen, and ‘thinkers’ or people with specific knowledge in a certain field or subject can offer tutoring services. Other popular job options retirees are taking on include government work, administrative assistance and office support, tax preparation and bookkeeping, craft works such as floral design, and temp work. Some decide to embark on their own entrepreneurial journey.

The Upsides and Downsides of Working Past Retirement Age

The Good: Say ta-ta to boredom. You will always have something to stimulate you physically and mentally.
The Ugly: If you are only working out of necessity or if your work is physically demanding, the experience may become unpleasant and damaging.

The Good: The prospect of making oodles of boodle, specially if you choose to start your own business. Otherwise, staying employed past retirement can still give you the much needed financial pick-me-up.
The Ugly: The possibility of not being able to cope with the challenges of a new business venture. Furthermore, there is the danger of focusing too much on earning and not being able to take pleasure in the perks of retirement such as spending more time with family and loved ones.

The Good: Enjoying employee benefits such as health insurance and retirement savings.
The Ugly: Your employer may require you to work more hours than what you’re comfortable with.

The Good: You can decide on whether you’d want to take on a full-time or part-time job.
The Ugly: It can be a challenge to look for a new job with hours you find suitable.

Now, whether you are continuing to work, or going back to work, because you love keeping active or due to a lack of option, i.e. coerced by financial necessity and familial obligations – or both – you must consider these pros and cons with utmost gravity. With careful contemplation, ample planning, and the right attitude, you can overcome the disadvantages and reap the rewards of choosing to work in retirement age.


Breaking the stigma that us oldies can't adapt to change one article at a time. Seniorpreneurs are rewriting the rules. Watch us redefine history, again.

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