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Why are retirees going back to work? Trends and numbers you should know

Why are retirees going back to work? Trends and numbers you should know

  • Going back to work after retirement
  • Other things to consider about going back to work
  • Key takeaways

Today, some retirees are choosing to spend their “Golden Years” in the workforce. In this article, we’ll discuss why some older workers are choosing to unretire and go back to work, including some data and statistics you might not be aware of.

The COVID-19 pandemic saw a rise in people deciding to retire, but a few years later, many are rethinking their decision. More and more, people of retirement age (generally 65+) are finding that even though they've retired from their primary career, they don't want to slow down and stop working entirely. For a myriad of reasons, retirees are taking off their “golden years” caps and throwing them back into the career arena.

In this article, we'll discuss why some retirees are going back to work, including:

  • Why do retirees go back to work?

  • What percentage of people who retire go back to work?

  • Are retirees going back to work because of inflation?

Going back to work after retirement

While some are content to sit back and enjoy the fruits of their hard-earned labor, it's not for everyone. It might be worth it for some retirees to reenter the workforce. According to a Bankrate survey, while 62 percent of U.S. adults find the idea of retiring part of the “American Dream,” a study by Paychex determined that "one in six retirees are considering returning to work, and 53 percent want remote positions."

So why are so many retirees considering “unretiring?” Is it worth it? The main reason seems to be money, with 55 percent returning because they need the income. Other reasons given by the Paychex survey include:

  • Boredom (47 percent)

  • Inflation (41 percent)

  • Need for health insurance (33 percent)

  • The volatility of the stock market (17 percent)

Expert Tip

So what’s the deal with inflation?

It's a big deal. With an increasingly high inflation rate and retirement accounts being bottomed out by the stock market, seniors are feeling the heat, with some having difficulty affording the basics like housing, gas, and food. A significant number are worried about their future care as well, with 36 percent of Americans ages 65-69 unable to pay for one year of basic care without draining their savings accounts, per a 2021 study by Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research. For these retirees, going back to work is a necessity, not a choice.

Other things to consider about going back to work

While many employers are wooing older workers, age discrimination is still a factor, with a survey by AARP finding that 64 percent of older workers believe that they’ve experienced it in the workplace, and 41 percent stating that they’ve experienced ageism in the last three years. However, with a growing number of older adults in (or reentering) the workforce, hopefully, it will spur employers to cultivate a more inclusive environment.

Also, be aware that, depending on your age, you may lose social security benefits if you go back to work. According to the Social Security Administration, benefits increase by eight percent for every year retirees wait to claim past the full retirement age up to age 70, but deciding to return to work after claiming Social Security before that age can decrease your benefits. And it can affect your taxes, too, so check with an accountant or tax professional to find out how much you’ll owe.

Ready to jump back into the workforce? Check out our Job Search Strategy tool to create a new career roadmap along with the digital tools and guidance you’ll need to find a new job in today’s competitive and ever-changing job market.

Key takeaways

  1. Retirees are reentering the workforce for many reasons, including needing income, boredom, and reclaiming a sense of purpose.

  2. The high inflation rate has affected many of today’s seniors, with some being unable to afford the basics like housing, food, or gas.

  3. Although more retirees are going back to work, age discrimination is still a factor in many workplaces.

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