rePosted from Forbes Online
In 1935 when the Social Security Act was passed, the retirement age was established at 65. The government wasn’t too concerned about payouts to retirees because the average life expectancy was 61 years! But now the average life expectancy has increased to an average of 78.6 years in the U.S.
Most likely we will see life expectancies continue to rise. Medical advances and technology may result in traditional retirements lasting 30 years or more. But many people are choosing to continue working. The number of employed Americans over 65 has increased by 35% in the last 5 years. This group of workers is projected to be the fastest growing segment of the workforce by 2024. Management, sales and office support are the top three occupations for those over 65 based on a study by Seniorliving.org
Why are some people deciding to continue working? Pure financial need is certainly a factor. Workers can delay filing for Social Security, save more for retirement and spend fewer years depleting those savings to fund living expenses. Seventy percent of experienced workers say they plan to work in retirement, whether full or part time, according to a 2014 AARP study; 35 percent of those ages 65 to 74 cite that extra income is the biggest reason why.
But money is not the only reason. Many of those who continue to work do it not for money but for love of working. The AARP study revealed that nearly 1 in 5 of the 65 to 74 age group say job enjoyment is the single most important reason they still work.
I asked one of my clients, a physician in his mid seventies, “Bob why haven’t you retired? You certainly have enough money to do so.’” And he responded, “ I’ll never retire unless I have to. The day I retire I will lose my audience.” For many people like him, continuing to work gives them a sense of purpose, a reason to get up in the morning.
Marc Freedman, the CEO and president of Encore.org, believes that older adults are one of society’s most undervalued resources and that society needs new roles for older people to do what they do best — mentor and guide the next generation.
Encore.org in partnership with the Stanford University Graduate School of Education found that one third of older adults in the U.S. “identify, prioritize, adopt and actively pursue goals that are both personally meaningful and contribute to the greater good”
Our traditional view of retirement must change if we recognize that many people may live 30 or more years beyond their original careers. To appreciate the “golden years” older adults must find new purpose in their lives that goes beyond the understanding that retirement is a period solely of rest and recreation.