Is Retirement at 65 Ridiculous?

Retirement at 65 is ridiculous.  When I was sixty-five I still had pimples.” — George Burns

It seems that George Burns was onto something.  More and more older Americans are working well past the traditional age of 65 and there is good reason.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the overall U.S. work force is projected to grow by an average annual growth rate of 0.5%.  However, the participation growth rate for people 55 years and older is projected to be 1.8% — more than 3 times the average.

Why Working Past 65 a Good Thing

George Burns was famous for loving his job as a performer and kept working until just weeks before he died at age 100.  So, if you love your job, don’t quit just because you turn 65.  However, there are multiple other reasons for working past the traditional retirement age:

Retirement Now Lasts Much Longer than Before:  It used to be that people retired only a few years before their death.  These days it is extremely common for people to live 20 or 30 years in retirement.  Some might argue that is too long — even longer than childhood and adolescence combined.

The Opportunity to Save More and Spend Less of Existing Savings: Working a little longer means that you have more time to save and you get the big bonus benefit of needing less in savings overall since you’ll be retired for a shorter period of time.

Boost Your Social Security Benefit: Social security benefits are based on your top 35 earning years. If you are earning more now than earlier in your career, then working past the traditional retirement age could insure a bigger Social Security check.

Work is Good for You: When it comes to your brain — conventional wisdom says: use it or lose it and working is an excellent way to stay mentally engaged.  Work also keeps you on a schedule and interacting with friends and colleagues which is hugely important to your mental health.

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