Meet the Retireless

Meet the Retireless

 

A LOOK AT 75-PLUS WORKERS

These days there are many people in their 50s and 60s who are forced to delay their retirement, but what about those who are over 70?  It turns out that the number of people 75-and-over who are still working has grown significantly in the last two decades.  

 
In fact, estimates put the number of 75-plus workers at 1.3 million.  That may not be a big sector of the workforce, but still worth a look.  Some of these folks continue to work out of financial need, but many set their alarms and head off to work each day simply because they want to feel useful.
 
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that by 2020, 10 percent of the 75-plus crowd will still be in the labor force.   These individuals will be collecting Social Security—and paying into it at the same time.  The phrase “75-plus worker” is quite a mouthful, so a new term has been coined: “the retireless.”
 
Meet the Retireless | Retirement Statistics and Senior Employment

Meet the Retireless

Karl Jones, photo by Kate Davidson for MarketplaceKate Davidson, reporting in Marketplace, recently interviewed several people who fit this description, including Karl Jones, a 76-year-old building superintendent who has been working in the same building for 43 years.  

 
His decision to continue working isn’t based on finances; he just wants to stay moving. “I’ve seen so many of my past co-workers here that retired and just fade away.  And I don’t want to join that clique,” he says.
 
Another example is 83-year-old Peter Koch, who still presides over the daily business at his family’s lingerie store, the Town Shop, on Broadway.  Koch collects Social Security, a pension, his salary and he has a 401(k). He says it’s plenty to retire on. But at work he has his customers, his son, and lots of employees.  “We have fun,” he says. “There are plenty of headaches and heartaches… but for the most part it’s fun.”
 
Sara Rix, senior strategic policy adviser at the AARP Public Institute, says the rate at which people over 75 participate in the work force has been growing since 1990.  For some seniors, economic factors—like reductions in retiree health benefits, and the shift from guaranteed pensions to defined contribution plans like 401(k)s—spur their need to keep working.  
 
But Rix thinks that for many in this age group,  the decision to keep working is mostly about health and choice. “People 75 and over are far more likely than their younger counterparts to be self-employed,” she says. “So they can scale back their work hours.  Many of them are likely to be in the professions: law, medicine, accounting.”
 
Meet the Retireless | Retirement Statistics and Senior Employment
 
 
 

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