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Are you one of many Americans who retired, only to find that you miss working? You are not alone. Many people who retire subsequently go back to work, some in the same field they once worked in, others in a new field. Economists call this unretirement. For these retirees, retirement is fluid. Unretirement is a relatively common phenomenon. A study published in 2017 found that close to forty percent of workers over 65 who had previously retired subsequently went back to work.1

Why go Back to Work?

For some retirees, their days are filled with activities and contentment. Others however may feel increased isolation and loneliness after retiring. For these individuals, they may feel a loss of the identity that their job had previously provided. For many people, working provides structure, camaraderie, and community and when you retire, you can lose this. For those who struggle in retirement, and even those who don’t, resuming work can help you find a new sense of purpose and give your life some needed structure.

For some older adults, a desire to earn extra income is a primary motivation to return to work. Many older adults however feel economically secure, yet they nevertheless return to the workplace after retiring. For these adults, having a job is fulfilling and helps them stay grounded. If you’re currently working and are feeling burned out in your job, consider retiring, take some time off to recover, and then go back to the workforce at a later date. The current climate can provide a good opportunity for willing seniors to go back to work. Many businesses are having trouble hiring workers and may be willing to hire an older adult to fill an open position.

Going back to work can be a good opportunity to learn new skills. The Senior Community Service Employment Program provides seniors in Contra Costa County who are age 55 and older with work-based job training opportunities. Click here to learn more.

Consider Working from Home

If you’re retired and want to go back to work but are worried about exposure to Covid-19, consider getting a job that you can do from home. Modern technology has increased opportunities to work from home in certain fields. For example, some seniors have sought out part-time customer service jobs or jobs in online tutoring. These jobs provide a new source of income and can be an interesting way to spend your free time.

Seniors considering obtaining a work from home job should be cautious of work-at-home scams. Beware of job offers that you receive over email promising to pay seemingly too good to be true salaries and which charge you a fee to learn more information. These offers may be a scam. Always remember that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Before pursuing a work from home job, do your homework to make sure that the job is legitimate and never pay for the privilege of working.

Financial Considerations

If you do choose to return to work, it is important to be mindful of the fact that returning to work can affect your finances in unexpected ways. Going back to work can impact the amount of social security benefits that you receive each month, the amount that you must pay in taxes, and the amount of your Medicare premiums.

If you claim your social security benefits before your full retirement age, or FRA, your social security benefits may be temporarily reduced if you go back to work. Your FRA will be between 66 and 67 depending on when you were born. If you claim social security before you reach your FRA, your social security payments may be reduced depending on your earned income. If your benefits are reduced however, once you reach your FRA, your social security monthly checks will increase to account for the benefits that were withheld earlier. Once you reach your FRA, your social security benefits will cease to be reduced based on your earned income. If you are retired and are considering going back to work, talk to a financial advisor who can help you figure out whether working will impact your social security payments. Click here to learn more about how your social security benefits may be affected if you go back to work.

Working post-retirement can also impact the amount you owe in taxes. Social security benefits are subject to federal income taxes if your income is above a certain level. Check with a financial advisor to see how working will affect your tax rate. In addition to affecting your taxes, working post retirement can also impact your Medicare premiums. If you earn above a certain income in retirement, your Medicare premiums could increase. Talk to a Medicare counselor to see whether working will increase your premiums.

1 New York Times,