Though it’s becoming increasingly common for people to retire later in life, some retirees find that they need or want to return to work. In addition, the pandemic has forced many people to retire sooner than they planned, and many find their Social Security benefits and pension aren’t enough to cover their living expenses.
But it’s not just the pandemic driving retirees back to work. Returning to work can provide financial security for retirees who may be struggling to make ends meet on a fixed income. While working full-time may not be necessary, even part-time work can make a big difference in covering expenses.
Here are five other unexpected reasons why retirees are returning to the workforce.
#1 A Changing Work Landscape
When employers are desperate for workers, many offer flexible work arrangements that appeal to retirees. These arrangements can include working remotely, part-time hours, and flexible schedules. They also often include the possibility to choose between different payment methods that cater to different needs, including crypto, prepaid cards, and more.
This is a significant change from the traditional workforce, which can be inflexible and demanding. This new landscape is very appealing for retirees who want to work but don’t want the hassle of a traditional job.
Some popular types of flexible work arrangements retirees are looking for include:
Working remotely or on a flexible schedule is particularly appealing to many retirees. They don’t want to be tied down to a 9-to-5 schedule or want to commute every day to the office. They also want the freedom to travel, visit their children and grandchildren whenever they see fit or take care of their health needs without worrying about taking time off from work.
The pandemic made remote work more commonplace, likely to continue even after it ends. So, retirees who want to work remotely can feel confident that there will be plenty of opportunities available to them. The most in-demand remote jobs for retirees are:
- Customer service representative
- Sales representative
- Writer/editor, and more.
Part-time work is another popular option for retirees. This allows them to earn an income while having more free time to enjoy their retirement. It can also be an excellent way to transition into retirement, gradually reducing their hours as they get older.
A flex schedule allows employees to move their start and end times around, as long as the hours worked total 40 per week. This arrangement appeals to retirees who want more control over their time but are still willing to work a full-time job.
There is a distinct difference between flex time and working remotely. With flex time, you’re still required to work on-site during specific hours. Remote work, on the other hand, allows you to work from anywhere.
The Gig Economy
The gig or freelance economy is another reason why retirees return to work. In the gig economy, people don’t have traditional jobs with benefits and job security. Instead, they look for clients to work with for a limited time on specific projects, then move on to another client.
There are a few reasons why the gig economy is appealing to retirees:
- First, you can work as much or as little as you want.
- You can choose the projects you want to work on.
- Third, you’re in control of your schedule.
- Finally, depending on your industry, you can work both in-person and remotely.
The downside of the gig economy is that it’s not as stable as a traditional job. Still, for many retirees, the flexibility and freedom of working as a freelancer are worth the trade-offs.
#2 The Ability to Use Their Skills and Experience
While some people look forward to retirement as a time to relax and enjoy a well-deserved break from the workforce, others miss the challenge and satisfaction of using their skills and experience. For these people, working in retirement is a way to stay engaged and challenged while also using their skills to help others. In this sense, going back to work can offer some of the following benefits:
Returning to work can give them a sense of purpose and fulfillment.
In many cases, retirees are looking for a way to use their skills and experience more satisfyingly than when they were in their regular job. Retirees who return to work often find that they enjoy the structure and routine that comes with having a job, and having a set schedule can help to add purpose and meaning to their day-to-day lives.
It can give them a chance to give back.
For many retirees, returning to work is a way to give back to their community or industry. They may choose to work for a nonprofit organization or take on a consulting role where they can share their expertise with others. Retirees sometimes return to work because they feel they have more to offer than younger ones. They may have developed new skills or gained valuable experience that they want to use to help others.
#3 Reducing the Risk of Health Issues
There’s a well-known saying that the best way to stay healthy is to keep moving. And that’s especially true as we get older. But unfortunately, the fact is that inactive people are more likely to develop health problems like heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis.
Other health-related benefits of returning to work that retirees find compelling are:
Many jobs require physical activity, which helps keep one’s body healthy. Also, even sedentary jobs help keep people active and moving around, which benefits overall health. Unfortunately, many retirees are hesitant to practice sports or go to the gym. Instead, they prefer working over-exercising, as they don’t earn income by going to the gym. But if they can exercise while they work, it’s a win-win.
Popular alternatives for retirees returning to work while working on their fitness are:
- Dog walking
- Food delivery
- Waiting tables at a restaurant
- Working at a retail store
Memory and mind sharpness
When people retire, they often worry about their mental sharpness declining, with dementia being a primary concern for many retirees. Moreover, research shows that people who stay active and engaged mentally are less likely to develop dementia and another cognitive decline.
Some of the best jobs for retirees looking to keep their minds sharp are roles that require active problem-solving, such as consulting, teaching, or working in customer service.
#4 Staying Social
As people age, it’s not uncommon for them to become more isolated. This inability to adjust to retirement can lead to feelings of loneliness and depression. One way to combat this is by staying social. And one of the best ways to do that is by returning to work.
Not only does working give retirees something to do, but it also allows them to interact with other people daily. This can help them stay connected and reduce their risk of isolation. This can work even for remote jobs since you’re forced to interact regularly with other remote team members to collaborate on different projects. However, this is not as effective as a water bottle conversation during a 10-minute break.
There are many different types of jobs that can help retirees stay social. Some examples include working in a retail setting, being a receptionist, or working in customer service. But it also has jobs that require plenty of collaboration between team members, like consulting or project management.
#5 Loyalty to a company or government
After years of service, some employees develop a strong loyalty to their company or the government agency they work for. As a result, they may want to continue working for the organization even after they retire to help it continue to succeed. This is especially common among government workers, but only if they share a strong feeling of national pride or identify with the ruling political party.
This can be a great way for retirees to stay connected to an organization they’re passionate about and continue making a difference.
In other cases, a retiree may have a strong loyalty towards a big, private company that gave them great incentives or employee benefits while employed. In other cases, a retiree’s loyalty stems from having worked for many years in the same company or organization and owing most of their successes and accomplishments in life to the said company.
Suppose that company is ever in trouble and is having difficulty finding the right candidate for a particular role. In that case, it may call upon a recent retiree to return to work, and many will gladly accept.
The bottom line
There are many reasons why people may want to return to work after retirement. Some do it for the money, while others stay active and engaged. Whether it’s to socialize, for the sense of loyalty, or simply because they enjoy the routine, many retirees find themselves back on the saddle, even if it was not what they initially planned.