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5 Reasons to Not Bother Retiring

Roy Cohen is closing in on retirement age, but that doesn't mean he has plans to slow down.

"I do intend to work," says the career counselor and executive coach when asked about his retirement plans. "Just on my terms."

Larry Stybel, an executive in residence at the Sawyer Business School at Suffolk University in Boston, describes this as the "mosaic" stage of life.

"Mosaic is defined as finding income from a number of sources rather than one source," says Stybel, who is already past the usual age for retirement.

Cohen and Stybel are just two members of the baby boomer generation who are thinking twice about riding off into the sunset of retirement. Rather than leaving the workforce on the usual schedule, more older Americans are choosing to work longer, either voluntarily or out of necessity, according to several polls.

A December 2013 Gallup poll found that nearly half of boomers don't plan to retire until they are 66 or older, and 10 percent say they expect to never retire. Those findings echo a survey published a few months earlier by the Associated Press and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. That poll found that 82 percent of workers age 50 and older expect to work for pay in retirement.

While plans like these conflict with the conventional notions of retirement, a look at today's retirement landscape suggests that these workers could be on to something.

Here are five reasons it may make sense to forgo a traditional retirement today.

1. Retirement means lots of free time ... maybe too much
"I need to keep busy or I will excessively ruminate and lapse into becoming morose," says Stybel. "Being busy is important therapy and getting paid while being busy is fun."

To stave off the boredom, workers like Stybel are shifting gears or slowing down without exiting the workforce completely. The website -- founded, incidentally, by a senior not ready to retire -- surveyed 3,000 business professionals and found that more than half of them say moving to a part-time schedule is their plan for retirement.

2. Working later may help you stay healthier
While work is often considered stressful, retirement is not necessarily a picnic either. Several studies have linked stepping out of the rat race with an increase in health problems.

According to the Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory, retirement is the 10th most stressful life event. That may explain why a study from the University of Michigan found that retired individuals were 40 percent more likely to have a heart attack or stroke than those who were working. A 2010 study published in the Journal of Economic Perspectives found early retirement is linked to a "significant negative impact" on cognitive abilities.

"If work has been found to enhance good health, then extended retirement is just not a smart or practical idea," says Cohen.

3. Your savings probably aren't up to the task
"Baby Boomers have not saved enough," says Keith Klein. "That's the bottom line."

Klein, a financial advisor and owner of Turning Pointe Wealth Management in Phoenix, Ariz., says he sees a trend in boomers delaying retirement, particularly those who don't have a traditional pension to rely upon.

A 2011 bulletin from Social Security Administration notes that at age 62, the earliest age when someone can receive Social Security retirement benefits, individuals have an average of 21.4 years (men) or 23.8 years (women) of living left. That's a lot of time to rely on a nest egg.

Cohen agrees that many of his counterparts are not financially ready to take on an extended retirement. "Many boomers simply can't afford to retire," he says. "They lived well and large, invested opportunistically in real estate and had children later in life."

4. It's hard to un-retire
Once you leave the workforce, it can be challenging to get back in. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act may prohibit employers from discriminating against job applicants older than age 40, but any older American searching for a job could likely tell you that it's still slim pickings once you get near retirement age.

According to a report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the median period of unemployment for older job seekers in 2011 was 35 weeks, compared to 26 weeks for younger individuals. In that year, more than half of unemployed workers older than age 55 had been out of work for at least 27 weeks, and a third had been unemployed for more than a year.

What's more, the Social Security bulletin from 2011 notes that many fail to accurately predict how happy they will be in retirement. When you combine the high unemployment rate for older workers with the chance you might not be as happy as expected in retirement, it may be better to slowly back off your hours rather than quit cold-turkey.

5. Your kids may be coming home
Having children later in life can lead to still having offspring-related bills as you near your retirement age. There may be college tuition to pay and the occasional phone call asking for help with the rent -- or your kids may even come back to your home to stay, which can raise your expenses quickly.

"Boomers have kids who are still not settled. They returned home and unemployment is high among millennials," says Cohen. "Someone needs to work and it's likely that a boomer parent is earning far more than her children."

If you think so-called boomerang kids are few and far between, think again. A 2012 Pew Research study found that nearly 30 percent of young adults between the ages of 25 and 34 reported living with Mom and Dad again.

Descending the other side of the mountain
For boomers who believe they will never be able to quit their day job, Klein says there is still hope. However, it involves being savvy about which financial products to use for investments and realizing that there is a difference between knowing how to efficiently save money and how to efficiently withdraw funds at retirement time.

"The goal is not only to get to the top of the mountain -- the pinnacle is retirement -- but to get down the other side safely," Klein says.

Successfully managing that process requires making careful money decisions, regardless of whether you plan to work for another couple of years -- or another 20.

The original article: 5 reasons to not bother retiring appeared on

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Read/Post Comments (23) | Recommend This Article (25)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2014, at 2:11 PM, LadyMantle wrote:

    Boomers were for the most part a take-charge generation. They loved to know the nuts and bolts and had a "get-her done" mentality. For most, the work ethic is deeply ingrained. To be without work was not something most could invision easily. Most Americans just do not have the financial means to just "play all the time" in their retirement. I think now days most are fortunate to just keep doing what they always did before retirement, have some work to do and pay your bills. Traveling is not what it used to be either by land or air, it's expensive and full of congestion. Boomers also have a lot of experience and knowledge that is important to the work force of today.

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2014, at 2:36 PM, Ostrowsr wrote:

    Totally disagree. Income is replaced if you planned properly. Most people really wanted to do other things during their life but chose a high paying job out of necessity. Retirement allows you to do what you dreamed of doing and to grow as a person.

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2014, at 4:51 PM, pattib59 wrote:

    Oh, I love the Baby Boomers. Are they in for a surprise when it comes to working after retirement age. I really liked the one comment from the gentleman who said he is going to continue working, but on his terms. I have been retired for six years and I thought I would continue working until I was 70. My employer had other ideas, though. Once you attain the official SS and pension status age, you may discover that your employer wants to trade you in for a young model at less pay. I don't know where so many people are coming from when they think they are in charge of whether they choose to work after retirement age. Unless you are your own boss, you had better have a Plan B in place.

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2014, at 5:30 PM, clchapman wrote:

    You can plan all you want but unforeseen problems can come up and cost you retirement income

    A crash in the market such as we had that cost us 1000's or an illness that takes you down

    Retirement is what you make it. Taking trips do not have to be by plane or ship.

    Get a small car and drive over several days time

    If we wanted to the wife and I could actually stay busier than when we were working.

    In fact we have been getting up and going to take care of a friend for 3 weeks then went to take care of a granddaughter for two weeks that is a month and half straight

    If a person can afford to and it can be done on a 1000.00 a month then do it and spend time with family ,and do what you want

    You do not have to just set down in a chair and die for lack of something to do

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2014, at 6:01 PM, HBPC13 wrote:

    I turned 62 on 12-19-13 and retired on 12-31-13. Joined a gym,bought a Banjo,picked up a fishing License and had my mountain bike tuned up..Not sure if I agree with any of the 5 reasons given not to retire:

    1)Too much free time...I recently realized that for the first time in 56 years(since I started 1st grade) I'm not on a schedule and have since had no problem with my new routine.

    2)Working is healthier....I was an RN for the last 30 years and have been fairly healthy..In the 3 months I have been retired I have lost 15 lbs and my blood pressure has dropped as well.

    3)Retirement savings not up to task...I lived well but not large and was able while raising 2 children in Connecticut to save for my retirement.

    4)Hard to un retire....Should be no problem...if I chose or need to.

    5)Kids moving back in..They will always be welcome to move back in if needed..

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2014, at 6:18 PM, icarumba123 wrote:

    I've been retired for 16 years now. I seriously don't know how I found the time for work now that I'm retired. My advice is to retire asap and enjoy the time you have left!! Going to Europe again in September for the 4th time.

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2014, at 8:50 PM, VK wrote:

    #2 is highly controversial as there were different studies that indicate life expectancy to decrease with working longer than normal and opposite study which shows a decrease. Also if your job is highly physically demanding (electrician, HVAC tech, construction etc) I highly doubt that you could do it later than 55 - 60 yo or your employer is not going to push you out of that position despite your great experience.

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2014, at 9:15 PM, RobAllen wrote:

    People need to analyze and do whats best for themself and not listening to the media.

    When is the right age to retire ? You have to

    first consider your health, if you have good

    health and make good money then you can

    retire a little later because retire early mean

    taking a cut in salary.

    If your health is not good then its the right time

    to retire at 62, 63, 64, 65

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2014, at 9:37 PM, JanCullinane wrote:

    Should you retire? Ask yourself these three questions: Do I have enough? Have I had enough? Do I have enough to do? If the answer is "yes" to all three, retire!

    Jan Cullinane, author, The Single Woman's Guide to Retirement

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2014, at 9:48 PM, TechGuy6554 wrote:

    The people who say they will work until they die usually love their jobs. If, on the other hand, you work for a totally inept management team that makes your life miserable every day that you go to work, retirement can look like a really good thing, especially if you have planned for it financially and otherwise. A person can find things to do..... volunteer work, exercise, helping with the grandkids-- the list is endless. It really comes down to a personal decision to be made on a case-by-case basis.

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2014, at 11:38 PM, buttrash wrote:

    since I wasn't smart enough to play the market or get a cushy fat gov job with a pension I am preparing to work until I croak.

  • Report this Comment On March 31, 2014, at 2:20 AM, AlaskaErik wrote:

    I have 372 work hours left and then I'm done for good! At age 60. I can find plenty to do without punching a clock. I won't miss work one iota.

  • Report this Comment On March 31, 2014, at 4:24 AM, truckdriver wrote:

    I worked 34 yrs . Saved my money in a deferred comp. Took out a 15 yr. mortgage instead of a 30 and retired at 55. Been retired a year, first 6 months were a blast then NYS winter set in. Looking to get a snowbird nest in Fla. The longer you work the better chance they will take your benifits away. I dont miss the job or the rats I worked with !

  • Report this Comment On March 31, 2014, at 4:41 AM, Rolland wrote:

    Oh yes I am so important and hope to work my horrible job till I drop dead. Off to take a nap.

  • Report this Comment On March 31, 2014, at 6:50 AM, 1Congressman wrote:

    Retirement is great! Really great! Don't be drawn in by money grabbers and con men just to discredit your physical and financial well being. You earned your retirement. Now is the right time to breath some fresh air and stay away from these social financial frauds.

  • Report this Comment On March 31, 2014, at 10:38 AM, Barmil wrote:

    And now a comment from the tail end of the baby boomers: I would have liked the chance to stay at work and obtain retirement but now I am one of the 2 million unemployed. Laid off from a government contractor that was sequestered and had canceled contracts at the hands of the U.S. Government the same one I payed taxes into.

    It's kind of ironic that some of the last baby boomers are being dealt a bad hand from both sides of the government deck.

  • Report this Comment On March 31, 2014, at 11:16 AM, ohiodale wrote:

    This article says baby bommers are working until they are 66. The SS retiement age is 65 - 67. Medicare age is 65 so of course they are working until they are 66. Only government workers retire in their 50. The earliest you can retire is 65 because of Medicare, unless you have a corporate pension or government penson that pays for healthcare.

  • Report this Comment On March 31, 2014, at 11:17 AM, nikkilynn9 wrote:

    As a generation X'er and mother of two millenials, here is my take (or rant, however you may perceive it).

    I have lived a life full of flippant advise from baby boomers, most of whom are out of touch with any reality outside of their own. I refer to boomers as the "self centered, spoiled rotten generation". I apologize for coming off as disrespectful in my comment. My hope is that after you are over feeling angry and hurt, you give some consideration to the thoughts of the generations below you. The generations that counted on YOU to teach them, guide them, and raise them "the greatest generation" did for you. (BTW, epic fail boomers)

    The advise given to me the most by boomers throughout life is "GET A JOB". The crappiest advise ever given to me by boomers "GET A JOB".

    My retort after thirty years of my own struggles and now watching my children search for real work for several years out of college - give one up so that WE can have one, damn it!!!!


    You have lived your "working" life. How about giving the rest of us the opportunity to provide for our livelihood and families. Consider who is going to take care of you at the end of life. I can't do it if I don't even have the gas money to get to you. My children aren't going to do it. They don't even know who you are (remember, your career and money were always so much more important to your time and efforts).


    Let's take your plentiful life and work skills and give them freely to the younger generations. Need a project, work, meaning in your life? Give up the almighty dollar that you all hold so dear and see the disaster you have left in your greedy wake. It is time for boomers to give back of themselves, just like their parents did for them. You did not get where you are today through your hard work and struggles alone. Your parents and grandparents gave all of you a huge hand up in so many ways. Ways so many of you can't, or refuse, to remember or acknowledge.

    A few suggestions for your retirement follow. 1)TEACH! Consider this. You and I went to schools with teachers and administrators that were old enough to bring life experience and common sense to the classroom (or younger ones that were closely mentored by the elders). Millenials were mostly exposed to twenty somethings with no life experience, clueless children themselves. Hmmm, wonder why they seem to be so lazy, useless, and clueless to all of you. Which leads me to...2) RAISE your grandchildren. I know that you got off easy raising your own (my generation being your own!) You had back up, your parents and grandparents, who graciously stepped down from their lives to step up to meet the needs of their families. Consider that it may be time for you to do the same. 3) VOLUNTEER to make another's life more fruitful. Instead of hating on welfare mom's, how about grabbing one by the hand and doing whatever needs to be done to remove them and their children from the cycle of poverty and ridiculousness that is our nation's public welfare system. Again, they need a true mentor and friend to rely on. Not a bunch of BS and bureaucracy that by it's design and nature isn't helping anyone but the pocketbooks of the administration.

    I have hundreds of suggestions for your time, none of them leading to an increase to your financial portfolio. After a life full of chasing dollars, don't you think it's the time of life to work on and enjoy all of the things that you passed over for money? Things like your grandchildren, your communities, and your civic responsibilities.

    Bottom line, RETIRE, it's time for the rest of us to have a turn.

  • Report this Comment On March 31, 2014, at 1:13 PM, Disgustedman wrote:

    1. Retirement means lots of free time ... maybe too much.

    Then volunteer. Geeze.

    2. Working later may help you stay healthier

    Volunteer then...Geeze.

    3. Your savings probably aren't up to the task

    Then downsize, sell the house, you don;t need 4 bedrooms for 2 people. Geeze

    4. It's hard to un-retire

    It's damn near effing impossible to get a job after 50....

    5. Your kids may be coming home

    Not if you have downsized. They'll have to rely on themselves instead.

  • Report this Comment On March 31, 2014, at 2:46 PM, ConstantThinking wrote:

    It's good to read different comments regarding retirement and wondering how mine will play out. At this point in life, right-sizing and focusing only on what's essential seem to put me on the right path. Good luck everyone!

  • Report this Comment On March 31, 2014, at 8:05 PM, RichardK wrote:

    Re several comments above, (1) age discrimination is alive and well in 2014 but, like perjury, very hard to prove. Once you leave the work force, your resume will reveal clues about your age even if the law forbids prospective employers' asking about it. So double-check that you really can survive financially while working "on your terms" -- as Frank Sinatra sang, nice work if you can get it. Hiring older workers means higher health-insurance costs for employers, so you'll cost your boss more than the youngsters, even if you really are superior to them.

    (2) Cancer therapy cost me $17,000-plus that I claimed for Schedule A non-reimbursed deductions, and that was just for one calendar year, pre-Obamacare! I've survived four years since then, but that shot a huge hole in our plans. Another example: an elderly aunt who fell at her Wisconsin cabin and wound up spending $40K of her own money on her left femur. With Obamacare, we can already see the approach of rationing, and that'll make it more important to have your own financial resources -- perhaps for medical tourism if U.S. providers won't or aren't allowed to treat you.

  • Report this Comment On March 31, 2014, at 9:13 PM, DTSigg wrote:

    Retire... I did retire, for 4 years, went back to work because my old employer needed the high tech math skills and required a US citizen for security reasons, and the younger workers seemed to have skipped those classes.

    Teach... Great idea, until you run into the teacher's union that said go home. And the students that do not care??

    Raise your grand kids.... Do you mean the ones our children had before they finished their education and could get a job to pay for the new family they created.

    VOLUNTEER.... good idea did a lot of it. Me and all the other old people, wondering where the young people were. You know the ones that VOLUNTEERED to help because that was the way they were raised as a child.

    I heard your rant, which it is not to me, because I feel the same way, just on the other end of the spectrum.

    And trust me when I say most of the baby boomers are ready to retire, but many are not ready, because they heard the same BS you are hearing now, and contrary to popular believe the majority did not listen then so how in the HECK to you expect them to teach the ones behind them on personal and social responsibility.

  • Report this Comment On March 31, 2014, at 9:17 PM, DTSigg wrote:

    Two good reasons why ACA is a new screwing for the young, waiting to happen.

    And some of the young and restless are more costly than the old and settled.

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