If you're thinking of postponing retirement, you're not alone. In a recent study by the Federal Reserve, more than a quarter of Americans said they plan to keep working as long as possible. Meanwhile, data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics confirms that nearly 20% of workers 65 and over continue to hold down jobs. While delaying retirement may not be ideal, there are some good reasons to consider staying in the workforce longer than you originally planned.

1. You're behind on savings

According to the Economic Policy Institute, the average household aged 56-61 has $163,577 in savings. But an alarming 41% of 56- to 61-year-olds have no retirement savings at all. Even if your nest egg is hovering around that average, you're looking at just $8,178 a year, or $681 a month, of income over a 20-year retirement. When you factor in Social Security -- which, for the current average recipient, is just $1,360 a month -- that's still just over $2,000 a month to cover your living expenses in their entirety. Working a few extra years will give you an opportunity to catch up on savings. Anyone aged 50 or older can contribute up to $6,500 a year to an IRA and $24,000 to a 401(k). Maxing out either option could significantly boost your retirement savings -- especially if you're starting out with nothing at all.

Senior male with laptop


2. You have a good job -- with good benefits

Many seniors wait until age 65 to retire because that's when they first become eligible for Medicare. But while the program provides critical health benefits, it's by no means free. In fact, between copayments, deductibles, premiums, and other services not covered by Medicare, some couples might spend as much as $350,000 once they're enrolled, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute. On the other hand, if your employer provides a private health plan with better coverage, and you have the option to continue working past your mid-60s, it might pay to stay at your job for the medical benefits alone.

3. You want more out of Social Security

Your Social Security payments are based on your income during the 35 highest-earning years of your career. However, the age at which you file for benefits affects the amount of those benefits as well. Once you reach your full retirement age, you'll be eligible to claim your benefits in full. But if you delay Social Security past your full retirement age, you'll get an 8% boost for each year you hold off, up until age 70.

Your full retirement age for Social Security purposes is based on your year of birth, as follows:

Year of Birth

Full Retirement Age




66 and 2 months


66 and 4 months


66 and 6 months


66 and 8 months


66 and 10 months




If you were born in 1954 and delay retirement, as well as your Social Security benefits, until age 70, you'll increase your monthly payments by 32% -- for life.

4. You still have housing debt

Many workers expect their living costs to drop significantly in retirement, but if you have yet to pay off your home, you may be in for a shock. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reports that 30% of homeowners 65 and over still owe money on their mortgages. If you're one of them, working a few extra years might allow you to pay off your mortgage and enter retirement debt-free, enabling you to stretch your limited income even further.

5. Your health is great

While being healthy is obviously a good thing, it does pose a challenge from a retirement perspective. That's because you'll need more money to fund a 25- or 30-year retirement than you will for a 15- or 20-year retirement. Based on the Social Security Administration's current projections, 25% of today's 65-year-olds will live past age 90, while 10% will live past age 95. If you have reason to believe you'll have a long retirement ahead of you, then working a few extra years could make the difference between living out your retirement in comfort and eventually exhausting your savings. Remember, working longer won't just give you added opportunities to save money; it'll also allow you to hold off on withdrawing from your savings.

Delaying retirement may not be the ideal solution ideal your savings woes, but on the bright side, studies have shown that working longer offers numerous health benefits and may even lead to a longer life. And that's reason enough to keep plugging away at your job for a few years longer than planned.