Regardless of your age, now is the time to start planning your retirement

S.F. Ehrlich Associates |

Go back even one generation and you’ll find that retirement was fairly well defined. After working for perhaps 40 or so years, retirees could look forward to an additional 10 or so years of retirement. While those numbers were certainly not absolutes, retirement ages and life expectancy were fairly common. If you fast forward to today, a lot has changed, for several reasons. They include:

Life expectancy: Advances in medicine, such as greatly improved treatments for a variety of cancers, have helped to extend life expectancy. In addition, a drop in smoking, improved diets, and increased exercise have all added years to our lives.

Employment: Worker loyalty to their employer, and employer loyalty to their employees, is no longer taken for granted. The notion of working for the same employer who will take care of you ‘from cradle to grave’ is no longer a given. With multiple employers likely during a working career, neither is there a guarantee that you will either (a) be gainfully employed to age 65, and/or (b) that you will be covered by a company-funded pension.

Assuming your retirement will encompass potentially many years, one question to ask is whether you should plan to keep working after you retire from your primary career.

“A cushion for your savings:” It never hurts to reduce withdrawals from your savings due to the cash that could be earned from a part-time job.

· “A cushion for your savings:” It never hurts to reduce withdrawals from your savings due to the cash that could be earned from a part-time job.

· “A sense of purpose: Research shows that people with a sense of purpose feel younger in retirement.”

· “Exercise for your brain: The University of Michigan’s Health and Retirement Study (HRS), which has been tracking participants over age 50 for decades, pretty strongly shows that continuing to work has benefits for cognition… “Learning new things – psychologists call it novelty processing - may help slow cognitive decline.”

· “Overall health: The transition to partial employment or volunteer work unrelated to your prior career also appears to be associated with fewer physical declines and better mental health.”

· “A sense of community: The Harvard Study of Adult Development has been tracking generations of families since 1938, and one of its major findings has been how much retirement well-being depends on having good-quality relationships.”

· “A chance to give back: A 2021 study of retirees in England found that volunteer work in retirement was associated with less depression and higher satisfaction and quality of life.”

· “Good times:” …a job can be fun, especially if it provides you with a community of people that you can enjoy. A job in retirement can provide opportunities that were never available to you when your focus was on money and benefits.

· “Serving the greater good”: With so many opportunities for employment, working a job in retirement can help to serve the greater good while still providing opportunities for growth and learning.

To those who are already retired, don’t assume all the above no longer pertains to you. Publications such as the AARP Magazine1, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times are filled with stories about seniors who have made incredible contributions during their so-called golden years. In fact, the end of your primary career can open the door to so much more.


1 Lankford, Kimberly. “Why to Keep Working after Retirement.” AARP Bulletin, June 2022.



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