The 1 Reason Why Baby Boomers Continue To Work (And Which Second Career Jobs Are The Best)

The workforce has more senior workers than it has seen in at least 55 years, Bloomberg reports. Retirement typically occurred around age 65 in the past, but at least 19% of those age 65 and older reported to work last summer.

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Older Americans seem to be logging more hours at work too, than their younger counterpart, which the Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates will continue into the future. So why are so many well-seasoned workers staying in the workforce? Beyond some of the obvious reasons, there may be one surprising possibility why many workers haven’t pulled the trigger on retirement (page 9).

1. Your savings took a hit a decade ago

a homeless man in Las Vegas A lot of people still feel the effects of the recession. | Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The Great Recession took an enormous bite out of every American’s savings. However, boomers seemed to take one of the biggest hits. At least two-thirds of older Americans say they haven’t completely recovered from the recession, according to a GOBankingRates survey.

Over half report they aren’t able to save as much as they did before the crisis and only 17% recently started to save a bigger chunk of their paycheck.

Next: This is why boomers aren’t maximizing their savings.

2. You are playing it too safe with your money

Zhenli Ye Gon money Are you hoarding your money instead of growing it? | Drug Enforcement Administration/Wikimedia Commons

Boomers had more confidence in the stock market before the recession, but not as much now. “People who’ve been burned are not going to jump back in the markets head first,” Scott Goldberg, president of Bankers Life told GOBankingRates.

As a result, boomers are playing it safe, which may mean sticking with a savings vehicle that doesn’t provide the best return, according to the New York Post. For the most part, boomers turn to a money manager to handle their portfolio, according to a survey by BMO Harris. However, 16% of boomer survey respondents said they don’t have the money to save or invest.

Next: Why don’t some boomers have enough to save?

3. Your nest egg isn’t growing

Has your nest egg stalled? | iStock

Unfortunately, between rates and the recession, many boomers didn’t grow the nest egg they hoped to have by retirement age. In fact, less than half of those age 55 or older saved at least $50,000, according to a GOBankingRates survey.

The same survey found the main reason older Americans don’t have enough in savings is that they had to dip into it for emergencies. This may include having to cover living expenses during the financial downturn. But also boomers may have taken on more debt than they hoped close to retirement due to the recession or other unexpected life occurrences.

Next: Boomers have more of this than ever.

4. Your debt is way too high

Many people are saddled with debt. | iStock/Getty Images

Boomers hold the second highest amount of debt of all the age groups, according to the GOBankingRates survey. This is only slightly behind the amount of debt Gen Xers carry. And while most boomers never anticipated being totally debt free into retirement, more have debt than in the past. Today only 34% expect to have no debt when they finally stop working, as opposed to 45% of retirees before the recession. There is some good news. Most boomers are doing a good job paying off their mortgage, which appears to be one of the main loan sources, according to USA Today.

Next: Retirement age is now subjective.

5. When should you retire?

Retirement - Next Exit Road People are waiting longer to retire. | Kateywhat/Getty Images

About 20 years ago workers looked forward to getting their gold watch when they turned 57, according to Today. However, the “cut off” age for retirement isn’t as clear-cut as it was in the past. In fact, by 2013 the average retirement age was 66 and most boomers expect to keep working until 66 or longer, according to Fast Company.

Furthermore, one in 10 older workers anticipates they’ll never retire at all. The average retirement age is murky too possibly because people don’t consider themselves to be in old age until they are 72 years old.

Next: This is another consideration.

6. Healthcare costs are unpredictable

money with stethoscope Healthcare costs remain out of reach for many. | iStock.com

Healthcare costs can be considerable in post-retirement as people are living longer than ever. The average man over age 65 can expect to spend $189,687 and women of the same age may end up spending  $214,565 on medical expenses, USA Today reports. Women end up spending more because they typically live longer than men. These numbers don’t take into consideration long-term care, which may be needed for approximately 70% of all seniors at some point in their life.

Next: This safety net isn’t so safe anymore.

7. Social Security probably won’t sustain you in retirement

man holding social security card in his hand Social Security doesn’t go as far as it used to. | KenTannenbaum/iStock/Getty Images

Unfortunately, the Social Security benefits that were supposed to support you well into retirement aren’t there anymore, CBS News reports. In the most optimal scenario, Social Security could cover about 40% of pre-retirement income, but most people need two times that amount to live a comfortable life. This means many people will end up working for a longer amount of time. Not only can you save more, working longer deepens your Social Security benefits too. While you still can’t live off of Social Security alone anyway, working longer may help.

Next: This may be important to couples.

8. You don’t want your spouse to retire while you work

man and woman enjoying retirement at a beach It’s tough to be retired while your spouse works. | iStock/Getty Images

Some couples hang onto their jobs because one doesn’t want to retire without the other.  “Either the spouse is still working or really isn’t ready for their loved one to be around 24/7,” Dave Sanford, executive vice president of client relations at recruitment firm WinterWyman told The Street. Possibilities include not wanting to start the next life phase without their spouse. Or some couples don’t want to keep slaving away at work while their spouse putters around at home.

Next: The surprising reason some boomers are putting off retirement

9. You don’t know how to downsize your job

professor, teacher Many people don’t know how to disengage from their jobs. | monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images

Some people admit they actually don’t know how to retire, according to The Huffington Post. Workers aren’t prepared to go from being completely engaged from morning until night, to spending their days counting flamingos. “What will you do when the alarm clock no longer rings in the morning?” Ann Brenoff blogged in her Huffington Post opinion piece on retirement.

Some companies offer a program that allows you to phase down your job. You could go from working full time to part-time hours. Or a flexible work environment may help you transition from the grind to retirement.

Next: Some just enjoy working.

10. Work provides you with fulfillment

Man and woman look at a computer in cafe. Some people just love what they do. | Siri Stafford/Digital Vision/Getty Images

In some cases, you just like being engaged in intellectual stimulation. While money is a good reason to stay in the job market, many people just enjoy the feeling of purpose they get from their job. In fact, six in 10 older workers say money is not the reason they still work, according to a study by Banker’s Life Center for a Secure Retirement, The Huffington Post reports.

Approximately 18% of study participants said they keep working to stay mentally alert and 15% to remain physically active. Having purpose is important too as 14% said that was their reason to keep working, whereas 7% like the social aspect of work.

Next: If you aren’t ready to totally retire, what can you do for your ‘second act?’

11. Use your talents to become a consultant

Consultant is explaining solutions Put your experience to work. | BernardaSv/iStock/Getty Images

Perhaps you want to still work, but you are over the daily grind. One way to parlay your years of experience is to transition into a consulting role, according to Monster. “By mid-life you have solved many problems,” Ellen Mastros of New Work New Life told Monster. “Most likely other people have those same problems and you can help them solve them too. One can become a consultant in just about any industry or career field.”

Next: You could also tap into your charitable side.

12. You could work or volunteer for a nonprofit

Happy family volunteer smiling at camera Volunteering is a great way to stay active. | Wavebreakmedia/Getty Images

If you don’t need the money and want to give back to your community, consider volunteering or working for a nonprofit organization. “Many baby boomers want to give back to the community and end up working for nonprofits,” Jim Stedt, president and founder of Hartley and Associates said to Monster. “Some of these positions are for pay and some are only for volunteers.” Consider choosing a cause that is near to your heart or meaningful to your life.

Next: Pass your knowledge along to the next generation.

13. Check out teaching

Senior teacher while teaching Teaching is a great post-retirement career. | IPGGutenbergUKLtd/ Getty Images

One way to stay young is to work with kids. Consider a teaching position not only at a K-12 school but also a community college. Your knowledge could be put to good use if you know a trade too. “Many trade schools are looking for instructors who have real-life work experience in the careers they are teaching,” Stedt said to Monster.

Next: Leverage the Internet.

14. Make money online

Senior working on computer There’s a lot of money to be made in the digital world. | DragonImages/iStock/Getty Images

A second act career could also mean you learn something new such as becoming a blogger. Or you could launch a self-published book online. “Selling on the Internet, self-publishing books on demand, and teaching webinars online are all options,”  Nancy Collamer, author of Second-Act Careers: 50+ Way to Profit From Your Passions During Semi-Retirement said to Monster. “Jobs we aspired to when we were younger have become obsolete, and new careers — like virtual assistants, app designers, social media consultants, and bloggers — have filled the void.”

Next: Invest in a new business.

15. You could open a franchise

storefront at a Subway restaurant Purchasing a popular franchise is a great way to make money. | iStock/Getty Images

Plenty of franchises are doing well and could be a great way to transition into a new career. Purchasing a franchise allows you to work for yourself, plus may even provide a work opportunity for family members to help grow the business too.  “For those who always wanted to work for themselves, this is an excellent way to fulfill that entrepreneurial spirit,” Stedt said. You can also decide how involved you’d like to be with your new business. Some franchise owners like to be part of day-to-day operations, whereas others hire managers to handle operations.

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