Germaine Giani Weldon, AVL WealthCare, Gulfport, MS
Turn on the television any day, and you’ll hear enough bad news to turn your stomach. If you are in your 50s, and you are listening to this news while perusing your retirement plan statements, you may have come to the conclusion that full retirement at age 65 is simply a fantasy.
Your conclusion may be correct, but you are not alone. A Pew Research Center study found that more than half of workers between the ages of 50 and 64 said they are planning on delaying retirement and 16 percent of these workers said they are planning on never retiring.
Now before you start crying in your beer, consider this: Work is not a dirty word. In fact, work is good for you. A study by the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology found that workers who continued working in a part-time, temporary or self-employed job after reaching retirement age suffered 17 percent fewer major diseases than those workers who completely retired. From a mental health standpoint, these partially employed retirees also fared better than their fully retired counterparts. They scored 31 percent higher on a mental health scale.
Financial reasons may have been the major factor for delaying retirement, but it is likely not the only reason. Many continue working for self-fulfillment purposes such as reaching professional goals within their lifelong career or the challenge of trying a new career. Many see the benefits of the social connections that work provides as well as the structure of the workday. And, others find there is so much more they can contribute to society by continuing to work.
This last group can be found all around us, as I think about the people who live in my Gulf Coast community. There is the 70-year-old oncologist who became board certified in another medical specialty (palliative care), so he could better help his patients at the end of their life. Or, my 77-year-old friend who provides medical assistance weekly and counseling almost daily to recovering alcoholics. Then, there is my 66-year-old sister who, even though she says she is retired, began filling her days with pro bono consulting and fundraising to help her storm-ravaged community recover. And lastly, there is my friend who has spent the past 20 years running a seafood business and has now thrown her energies into her true passion, running an art gallery.
All of these individuals recognized that they had more to give than they had already given in their lifelong careers. Stopping work or not giving back more to their community was not an option.
Continuing to work during retirement years may be a financial necessity, but it does not have to be approached with a doomsday attitude. Many of us will have to readjust our thinking on this to recognize there are so many more benefits other than meeting financial obligations. Even more than our wallets, our physical health, our psychological well-being and our community all stand to benefit.
The opinions expressed by featured authors are their own and may not accurately reflect those of the BAM ALLIANCE. This article is for general information only and is not intended to serve as specific financial, accounting or tax advice.
© 2013, The BAM ALLIANCE