Since the mid-1980s, earnings as a percentage of income for people 65 and older has more than doubled and is still rising, according to analysis of census data by the Social Security Administration. Roughly six of 10 adults of retirement age don’t plan to leave the labor force when they leave their full-time career jobs, researchers at the University of Michigan recently found.Meanwhile, the just-released Retirement Confidence Survey, sponsored by the Washington, D.C.-based Employee Benefit Research Institute, shows 26 percent of workers have saved fewer than $1,000 for retirement. Of those with a pension, 401(k) or other retirement account, 34 percent report saving at least $100,000, compared with 5 percent of those without accounts.
“There’s clearly a financial incentive to staving off having to dip into retirement plans, so money can continue to compound. Then, too, the continued income can encourage people to not dip into Social Security until age 70, if possible, and give themselves that added bump Sof 8 percent a year for each year you delay tapping into Social Security after your full retirement age,” Hannon said. “And, of course, there’s the mental and physical payoff of feeling relevant and having a social network,” she said.
One path to getting a job after 50 is consulting and part-time contract work in one’s previous line of work, Hannon said.
“I find plenty of workers take that path, even working for former employers, or with small businesses and startups in their towns, who really need their expertise and experience, but can’t afford a full-time employee,” she said.
The key to staying in the workforce is up-to-date skills, Hannon said. Workers, she said, have to push themselves to add certificates, take workshops, classes at community colleges or classes offered for free online or at local libraries.
“Volunteering at a nonprofit you care about can lead to paid work, but also keep your skills sharp and fill gaps in your resume,” she said.
Employers often pass on older workers because they think they will be too expensive, or resentful if they aren’t paid what they think they’re worth, Hannon said.
“Better make peace with this and find ways to augment your pay by having the freedom to telecommute, or get paid vacation days or some other benefit around the edges,” she said.
Mashell Sourjohn, associate state director at AARP Oklahoma, said one of three successful businesses owners is an “encore entrepreneur.” Such 50 or older entrepreneurs on average have 31 years of work experience and 15 years of management experience, she said.
AARP and the Small Business Administration are working jointly to link 100,000 seniors nationwide with small business development resources, including live workshops, conferences and mentoring programs to give them the support they need to start or grow a business (aarp.org/startabusiness), she said.