Whether it is out of financial necessity or simply to keep the mind occupied and sharp, senior citizens are choosing to work now more than ever.
The recent report by US Department of Labor and Statistics, shows older workers 65 and over are staying in the workforce longer. It appears these numbers will continue to increase reaching 23.3 percent of the job market by 2028. Only a few years ago in 1996 those 65 plus made up a surprising 12 percent of the job market. The 55 and over class that includes the baby boomers is trending up too. The experts project this segment increasing from 23.1 to 25.2 percent by 2028.
The question remains why the market for those 65 and over who are choosing to work continues to increase. Back in 2010, US News reported a new study from the Families and Work Institute in New York and the Sloan Center on Aging Work at Boston College, “Working in Retirement-A 21st Century Phenomenon”. The researchers who conducted that study asked people 50 and over the why they continued working into their retirement years. Quite frankly, those answers were are probably pretty similar to what you might find today. The top 10 reasons were:
- 53 percent said, I would like to continue earning money to retire comfortably.
- 31 percent said, I would be board not working.
- 18 percent said, I keep working because my income from other sources is not sufficient.
- 18 percent said, I want to continue being helpful, productive and useful.
- 15 percent said, I have a job that is fun and enjoyable.
- 13 percent said, I want to interact with people.
- 12 percent said, I want to stay mentally and physically active.
- 6 percent said, I need health insurance.
- 6 percent said, I am pursuing my dream.
- 2 percent said, I want to learn new things.
One thing about technology and the job market today, it has opened up new doors for older Americans to continue working. Someone who is over 65 may not have the physical strength or stamina as a younger worker, but computers have allowed seniors to work remotely even in their own home. However, just because an older worker may need additional income, chances are pretty good that they will leave a job if they do not feel productive or enjoy what they do.
Another reason the older market continues to increase, employers know that older workers are dependable and understand how to work through the challenges that life brings. Employers know the value of older workers and are doing everything possible to provide the flexibility that appeals to those 65 and older.
According to a recent Money CNN article, baby boomers are reaching retirement age with a record 10,000 turning 65 daily. On top of that, the Census Bureau projects there will be more people 65 plus than children under the age of 18 by 2035. Those statistics are alarming to Keith Hall, Director of the Congressional Budget Office because there will be fewer working-age people paying into Social Security and Medicare to support retirees.
There is something extra special hearing the older generation talk abut the future and what their employment means to them. One 62 year old summed her job up best when she said, “It makes you feel that you are viable, that you are important, that you can contribute something to society and that you matter.” When you know that you truly make a difference at work, it sure makes getting up in the morning so much easier no matter what your age might be.