It’s no secret that many pre-retirees and retirees have meager retirement resources, and they might struggle financially during their retirement. Perhaps one of today’s hottest workplace trends—the Great Resignation—offers a solution.
During the past two years, employers have been losing younger workers in droves and can’t seem to find enough interested applicants to fill their open positions. Could older workers be the solution they need?
Let’s find out how you can make retirement lemonade out of someone else’s lemons.
Working in your retirement years can provide a substantial advantage
Pre-retirees who are approaching their retirement years can significantly increase their retirement income by delaying the start of their Social Security benefits as well as the time they start drawing down their retirement savings.
If you’ve already retired, you can still increase your retirement income by stopping withdrawals from your retirement savings and replacing that money with income from part-time work. Even if you’ve already started drawing down a pension, you can bank it for your later years by working to earn enough money to cover your current living expenses.
These advantages apply even if you can just work for a few years during retirement, as described in this post.
Many pre-retirees and retirees want to work in retirement
Besides potentially needing to work, many surveys of pre-retirees and retirees illustrate a desire to continue to work in some way during their retirement years. For example, the “2021 Retirement Confidence Survey” from the Employee Benefits Research Institute reports that seven in 10 workers hope to work for pay during retirement, although less than one in three retirees report that they’re actually working.
Similarly, the “2021 Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey of Workers” reports that more than half (57 percent) of workers plan to work in retirement.
What are your opportunities?
Despite wanting to work during their retirement years, many pre-retirees and retirees don’t want to work in the same way they worked during their career years. They want part-time work, flexible hours, flexible schedules, or remote work. They often have no more interest in climbing the corporate ladder and would be willing to fill in employment gaps as needed. If this describes you, it could give you an advantage when approaching potential employers.
For those employers currently struggling to find workers due to the Great Resignation, pre-retirees and retirees could help them fill those gaps for the next few years by applying for work. If you’re interested in post-retirement work, one of the best places to start is with your current employer, if you’re a pre-retiree, or with your former employer if you’re recently retired. You could be an ideal candidate since you already know the ropes at your company. If this isn’t an option, you might need to expand your horizons and approach other employers in your industry, or vendors of your current or recent employer.
If you don’t need full-time employment or if you’d be willing to be a contract worker instead of an employee, you might have advantages over younger workers. Another possibility could be to help with a temporary project at a potential employer without needing the commitment of formal employment. Retirees who can be covered by Medicare carry a distinct advantage since they might not need medical insurance from their employer.
Here’s a strategy to consider if you have negotiating power with a potential employer and you want satisfying work: Think about the parts of work that you enjoy, then ask your potential employer to give you that kind of work. Also think about the aspects of work you didn’t enjoy, then ask if you can avoid those aspects.
Here’s another advantage to consider: You can be more relaxed about working in retirement knowing that you have an escape hatch if it turns out that you don’t like the work. You have more freedom to quit, and you’ll be no worse off than when you started looking for work.
And remember—there can be other advantages of working during your retirement years. It keeps you active socially, gives you purpose in life, and might even help improve your health and longevity.
Given the serious challenges facing pre-retirees and retirees today, it will take resilience and ingenuity to survive and thrive for a potentially long retirement. You’ll want to take advantage of any opportunities that fall in your lap, and the Great Resignation could be one of them.