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“Jobs keep people on the ball.”

—Robert N. Butler, International Longevity Center

The majority of baby boomers plan to work full- or part-time after retiring from a current job or career. Rather than full-time retirement as early as possible, you may choose to remain in the workforce longer, often in a part-time or bridge job. In rural Minnesota, where younger people are often not available to fill job openings resulting from retirements, one-half of workers aged 55 and over say, “I expect to work until I drop.”

As the workforce ages and the number of new jobs continues to grow, employers are shifting towards recruiting and retaining older workers.

Many continue to work to earn money and receive benefits. But there are many other reasons to continue to work. “I enjoy working!” is one explanation. Others include, “Work lets me use my special skills and do something useful.” “Work fills the time and keeps me busy.” “Work provides social life and friends.” “Work makes me feel younger.” “Work gives me self-respect and identity in the community.”

Research confirms that you receive physical and emotional benefits, in addition to financial benefits, if you continue to work. Work provides meaningful activity that encourages you to socialize, keep learning, and contribute to the community. Volunteering is another way to do that.


This section includes the following pages:

  • Boomers May Be Key to Future Economic Growth - With U.S. unemployment hovering around 8 percent, it is hard to believe that businesses and nonprofits may soon face a shortage of workers. But demographic changes in the coming decades will lead to major changes in the workforce. Older, experienced workers could be the key to fueling continued economic growth. It is becoming increasingly clear that making the most of mature workers is “good for business.”
  • The Case for Encore Careers - People who plan to continue working into the
    traditional retirement years say it is important for
    the work to give them a sense of purpose, keep
    them involved with people, and help them improve
    the quality of life in their communities.
  • Working Beyond Retirement Age - A recent AARP poll indicates that 70% to 80% of Americans plan to work in some capacity after retirement.
  • Facts about Older Workers - Older workers often bring superior skills and experience to the workplace. Age-related shortcomings are most often more than compensated for with strong commitments, focus, and reliability.
  • Facts about Employers - Employers often have negative stereotypes about older workers that older workers need work to overcome.
  • Facing a Layoff - The good news about facing a layoff as an older worker is that the stigma formerly attached to being laid off has diminished. The bad news is that age discrimination is still pervasive.
  • Starting a Small Business - According to the Small Business Administration, small businesses have generated 60% to 80% of net new jobs annually over the last decade and employ about half of all private-sector employees. Does that mean you should run out and start your own business? Not necessarily.
  • Essay: On Work - Phyllis Moen, author of The Career Mystique: Cracks in the American Dream (2005), concludes that we need to rethink and redefine work in the later part of life, creating flexible and meaningful positions that are “not so big jobs.”

Check our Additional Resources for more information