Working Late?

Ina Jaffe of National Public Radio recently did a series of reports on Morning Edition about people who are working beyond the usual retirement age. Jaffe interviewed a fitness instructor, a librarian, a midwife, a politician and others who continue to work even after the traditional retirement age.

Jaffe explains that part of this is a result of the weak economy but “working late” did not begin with the recession. She reports, “The Bureau of Labor Statistics says it's been building for decades. And the percentage of people over 65 who are still working is about double what it was in the late 1970s.” This is the new reality for many.

So why do people continue to work past retirement age?

Some do it because they have found something they love to do. The fitness instructor was once a television producer. He realized that most fitness and exercise programs were not designed for older adults, so he decided to become certified with the goal of working with seniors like himself.

Others want to fulfill a calling that they were not able to pursue earlier in life. They wanted to pursue their passion to meet a special need. With reduced financial needs, they have been able to devote their lives to something they love doing such as community service, tutoring, and other charitable work. They want to “give back” to others.

Professor Leonard Sweet recently told a group of Methodist pastors that instead of asking 60 to 90 year olds, “Where are you going to retire”” a better question would be “What are you going to do to join Jesus in saving the world.”

Of course, there are those who are workaholics and can’t imagine the day when they don’t get up and go to work! There are others who work out of financial need due to ailing retirement accounts or additional expenses that they did not anticipate.

Whatever a person chooses to do after the traditional retirement age, he or she should do something that continues to give meaning and purpose to life. Gifts, talents, and life experiences can be invested in new and creative ways. Baptist pastor Cecil Sherman wrote, “Never retire from something; retire to something.”

If you are moving toward the traditional retirement age, what is your next step? Pinnacle associates Rhonda Abbot Blevins and Ircel Harrison are available to assist you with retirement coaching. Contact Rhonda at or 865-816-2334. You can contact Ircel at or 615-423-8223.

Link to NPR story: