April 26, 2018
I am on the record that for anyone worried about if they will have enough money to live in retirement, planning to work longer can be a big help. It delays when you need to start taking Social Security, and tapping your retirement savings accounts. My advice is that 70 is the new 60.
But people, you need to understand this strategy isn’t guaranteed to work out.
AARP recently studied retirees at least 50 years old. Nearly half of retirees surveyed reported that they stopped working earlier than planned. The good news is that nearly one in three of those retirees said they were able to stop working earlier than planned because they felt they could afford to. But for many, it wasn’t a good-news event. Illness, a job loss, burnout, needing to care for a loved one were also cited as reasons why people stopped working earlier than expected.
Planning to Work Longer Takes Planning Work
If you want to work longer a decade or two from now, you need to put in the work now to help your chances of being able to work:
• Take Great Care of Yourself. Exercising and eating well always makes sense for our body and soul. But it is also a central part of a work-longer strategy. A healthier you may be able to work longer.
• Don’t Make Yourself a Target for Downsizing. If you aren’t self-employed, you need to be extra motivated to make sure that your skills and attitude continue to make you a valued employee. When the next economic downturn hits and your employer needs to cut back, you don’t want to be the easy or obvious choice. If you remain a vital contributor, you increase your odds of staying employed. And keeping your skills and networking up to date can be valuable insurance in the event you are laid off. Finding a new job will be easier if you have a resume and references that stand out.
• Get Schooled on a Post-Career Job. If your intention is to shift to a different job later on, maybe pursuing a hobby or passion, start planning for it today. Will you need any certification or license to pursue this work? Are there skills you want to add to your toolkit for this next stage? Taking courses at a local community college, or online, can help you hit the ground running.