U.S. News & World Report: Why Older Americans Are Happier at Work

“There is a group of people who will continue working because they need the income, and they want to save up before dipping into Social Security and savings. And because we’re living longer and healthier, why not keep working?” says Kerry Hannon, author of What’s Next? Follow Your Passion and Find Your Dream Job.

Hannon adds that as people age, they also start considering their legacy and what they can do to give back. Often, it’s by continuing to practice the skills they spent their careers building. She adds that they frequently do so outside the constraints of a full-time job, by working part-time, starting a small business, or creating a small nonprofit organization. “It’s an opportunity to use your existing skills in a new way,” she says.

In contrast, many baby boomers’ parents saw retirement as a chance to completely break off contact from the working world, says Hannon. It was a time to travel and visit grandchildren. “They had pensions. They had a financial cushion that most of us don’t have … We always have an eye toward making money and having some sort of income stream,” she says, especially after the financial crisis that wreaked havoc on so many boomers’ retirement accounts. “It’s so self-empowering to continue to make money, so if the market goes a little kooky, you don’t freak out,” she adds.

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