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Should I Work In Retirement?

How to Balance Your Financial & Emotional Reserves

You're about retirement age, but are you ready to retire? Back in the day, retirement meant leaving a steady job, drawing a pension and "riding off into the sunset." While there are both pros and cons to this approach, we can all agree that times have changed.

Nowadays, the percentage of American workers age 65 and older has increased from 12.5 percent to 18.8 percent.1 And while some people are working longer into retirement, others may retire earlier than planned. Why? People are living longer due to increased life expectancy. So they're either working longer due to choice/necessity or retiring early due to unexpected health issues.

Work In Retirement

That's why it's important to consider both the financial and emotional consequences when deciding whether or not to continue working in retirement.

Financially: Are you where you need to be?

  • It may make sense to put off taking distributions from your retirement plan. Why? So you can (1) save longer and (2) benefit from more compound interest.
  • If you are under age 70, you can delay taking Social Security in order to earn delayed retirement credits (i.e., an 8 percent increase in benefits for each year you delay past full retirement age, up to age 70).
  • If you work past age 70 ½, there may also be an opportunity to delay IRS-imposed required minimum distributions from retirement plans. This may ultimately provide a more secure retirement in the long run.

Emotionally: Continuing to work can stimulate some, but discourage others.

  • Pray for wisdom and guidance as you begin this new chapter in your life.
  • Ask yourself, "What makes me fulfilled?" "Is it continuing to work, perhaps part time, or do I prefer to cut the cord and focus on other things?"
  • If your budget allows, consider volunteering at your church or a local ministry. Serving others could be a blessing to them — and you.

Everyone has a different view of what a satisfying retirement looks like. But with a little preparation and prayer, you can create a plan that works for you and your wallet.

Jonas Roos

About the author: Jonas Roos has been a GuideStone® senior manager and financial advisor for the past 12 years. During his free time, Jonas enjoys spending time with his family, playing golf and taking trips to colder climates.

1 Bureau of Labor Statistics.