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Returning to Work after 60? You’re Not Alone

Man returning to work after 60

Recent research reveals that more and more Americans are returning to work after retiring from their primary careers. In fact, in 2016 more than 18% of Americans 65 or older were employed—the majority of them full-time. That number was up 6% from just 6 years earlier.

As reported by The New York Times, some seniors express a desire to return to work (what some economists call “unretirement”)  in order to remain engaged socially and intellectually with the world around them.  However, the majority of those folks in the American Working Conditions Survey conducted by the RAND Corporation cited by that article were retirees with college degrees who said they’d return to work “for the right job.” The truth is, many others return for much less cerebral reasons: the need to supplement their income and/or to maintain affordable health insurance.

In fact, according to the National Council on Aging, 1 in 3 older adults is economically insecure. Somewhat ironically, this is at least in part a result of the progress our country has seen in the past century. As Americans are living longer and more active lives, their retirement savings are being stretched to the limit. At the same time, according to Rand Corporation blogger Melissa Bauman, those retirement packages and pensions are getting “stingier.”

Older adults are looking for work

There are all kinds of reasons older Americans are returning to work, and not all because of poor financial and career planning. Some hard-working Americans lost the majority of their savings in the 2008 crash, for example. Others found themselves faced with unexpected health concerns or took an early retirement to care for a spouse. The point is: if you are an older adult returning to work, you are not alone.

Equally important, there are a growing number of resources to support you in your quest for post-retirement employment. Primary on this list is the National Council on Aging, which offers a range of support from free resources for managing money as older adults (to help pay down debt and cut spending where possible, for example) to senior employment resources designed to help older adults define their skills, get training, and search for local senior-friendly work and volunteer opportunities. Since 1965, their Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) has matched low-income, unemployed individuals aged 55 or older with part-time jobs that often lead to permanent employment.

As explored in earlier SafetyNet™ blogs, plenty of resources and tips abound to help older adults position themselves to new employers and supplement their skills—or even consider a less traditional means of earning income through entrepreneurship and the gig economy. The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) devotes a section of their website to working seniors and provides up-to-date information about resources and opportunities for older adults looking for work.

Also new to the work world are supplementary support programs from the private sector, such as unemployment insurance and savings programs, designed to provide workers with a financial cushion in the case of unexpected disability or unemployment. Should you need immediate help with food assistance, health care, paying utilities, for example, consult the National Council on Aging’s completely confidential and comprehensive BenefitsCheckUp page or the free app on the SafetyNet website.

The take away? Returning to work as an older adult can be not just possible but also satisfying and meaningful. Take advantage of the resources around you to live your life to the fullest.

5 Surprising Statistics About Older Workers

There are a lot of surprising statistics about older workers, including that they have surprisingly physical jobs. Check out this infographic that shows 5 surprising statistics about older workers.

Infographic older workers statistics