The following post is from Melissa Batai

My grandpa is 84, and he works 30 hours per week as a greeter at a local big chain grocery store.  He started working at 14, and he’s been working ever since.  When he retired from his job in his late 60s, he only took a bit of time off before beginning his job as a greeter.  Turns out, he made a smart decision, one that many retirees could benefit from if they decided to also work longer.

Working longer than the traditional retirement age of 62 or 63 offers plenty of benefits:

Combat social isolation.  While many people who retire face social isolation, my grandpa does not.  He goes to work every day and greets hundreds of people.  He’s also made friends with the younger employees, who he says keep him young.

Extend social security benefits.  The longer a person waits to take social security, the larger their monthly social security payment will be when they finally take it.  According to an interview on Today, “Every year you don’t take your benefits between age 62 and age 70, those benefits grow by 8 percent annually.”

Extend retirement savings.  The main reason my grandpa initially started working as a greeter was because he had little in retirement savings.  He had worked for years at the same company and had planned on their retirement.  When that company went bankrupt, he lost his retirement.  He entered retirement with very little savings, so he knew he would have to work, but it’s never been drudgery for him because he thrives on it.

Combat boredom.  This is the second reason my grandpa took his current job.  I expect he would have went back to work even if he didn’t financially need to because he was bored.  He was never one to sit around.  He went to work every day pre-retirement, and in the evenings he helped or visited one or more of his six kids, and on the weekend, he helped others or did home improvement projects around the house.  He is not one to sit still and he is also not one to travel, so he was bored in retirement.

Remain in better physical shape.  Just having a job helps retirees remain in better shape than their counterparts, in part because they’re more physically active.  “Researchers at Oregon State University analyzed data from a large, ongoing study of people age 50 and up.  What they found was that people who continued to work past 65 had an 11% lower chance of death from all causes” (Today).

Increased mental stimulation.  Finally, a job in retirement helps aging people stay mentally sharp because they’re using and exercising their minds all day long at their job.  They are engaging with people, so they’re keeping up their language skills.  In addition, as the job and technology changes, they’re learning new procedures and processes, all of which help keep the brain sharp.  If they’re in a field such as teaching or working as a lawyer, the benefits to the mind are even more pronounced.

Do you plan to keep a job after retirement or to delay retirement well beyond the retirement age?  If so, what is your main motivation?

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