Many people associate retirement with not working at all. And it's easy to see why.
A lot of folks plug away at a job for 40 years or more before managing to leave the workforce behind. And at that point, many want nothing more than to kick back and take control of their time, rather than report to a boss on a regular basis.
I, on the other hand, really hope to continue working throughout retirement. Here's why.
1. The extra income would be nice
I have fairly modest goals for retirement. I'd like to travel overseas on occasion, but mostly, I'd like to visit different parks (both state and national), foster dogs, and spend as much time outdoors as possible. I also intend to downsize to a smaller home in retirement -- if I even decide to own one at all.
Between these fairly modest goals and the nest egg I'm working hard to build, I hope to largely avoid financial concerns in retirement. At the same time, though, extra money would be a nice thing to have, whether I use it myself or gift it to important people in my life. And working during retirement could result in a nice stream of side income.
2. I'm not sure what Social Security will pay me
I'm making a strong effort to amass a decent amount of savings so I won't have to rely on Social Security very heavily during retirement. But it's hard to predict what my expenses might look like down the line, and it's also hard to know what benefit Social Security will ultimately provide.
The reason for the latter is twofold. First, I'm not close to retirement age, so it's hard to get an accurate estimate of my monthly benefit, since that's based on your 35 highest-paid working years. But also, Social Security could be in line for benefit cuts down the line, which would impact all recipients.
In light of that, I figure that if I plan to work during retirement, it just takes the pressure off from a Social Security standpoint. And that means I don't have to concern myself too heavily with how the program evolves or what my benefit ends up amounting to.
3. I'm the type of person who needs to stay busy
Some people have no problem spending days on the couch watching TV. I'm not one of them.
Staying busy is important to me, and I figure working part-time in retirement is a great way to help me avoid boredom and the negative thoughts that tend to come with it. To be clear, this isn't to say that I won't happily spend a few afternoons on a rainy afternoon curled up with a book. But do I see myself being happy spending 45 hours a week reading and watching TV? Probably not. And working is a great way to avoid that scenario.
What's the right call for you?
There are upsides and downsides to holding down a job in retirement. Before you write off the idea of working in some capacity, take some time to consider how you might benefit from having a job. You may even decide to take on some amount of work, even if you're able to get by financially without it.