Though Social Security is a crucial source of retirement income for millions of seniors today, it's not enough to live on by itself. The average beneficiary right now collects roughly $18,000 a year, which is hardly enough to cover the typical senior's living expenses, especially when we factor in healthcare costs.
That's why it's crucial to have income outside of Social Security, and a good way to do so is to sock funds away in an IRA or 401(k) throughout your working years. But when pressing expenses eat up your income, building a nest egg becomes challenging. And if you don't have access to a pension, you may need to explore other avenues for generating additional retirement income.
Thankfully, 49% of boomers today have a good sense of how to do so: work-part time.
In a new report from Fidelity, not only do nearly half of boomers expect to work in some capacity during their golden years, but they expect to learn $1,540 a month from that work, on average. That's actually slightly more than what the typical senior on Social Security receives today. And it's reason enough to consider factoring part-time work into your retirement plan.
The upside of working during retirement
The primary benefit of working in retirement is clear -- you get a chance to earn money and boost your overall income. But working as a senior achieves another key financial purpose: It prevents you from spending money.
Imagine you're used to clocking in 40 hours or more per week at the office, and suddenly, you're retired without much to do. Chances are, entertaining yourself adequately will cost money. But if you get a job, and manage to fill, say, 20 hours a week with it, your spending is apt to decrease, which is a very good thing when you're on a limited budget.
Working in retirement has health-related benefits, too. It can help keep your mind sharp, enable you to stay in shape, and serve as a social outlet. All of these things are not only important, but can serve as money-savers in their own right when you consider that gaining weight, moving around less frequently, and feeling lonely can lead to medical issues (both physical and mental) that cost money to address.
The best part of working in retirement? Thanks to the gig economy, your options are virtually endless. You can drive for a (partial) living, walk dogs, take care of other people's houses, sell crafts, garden, cook, tutor, or teach an instrument -- just as a quick handful of examples. You can also consult in your former field, which may prove more lucrative than a random gig. Or, you may opt to start your own business, which will give you something meaningful to focus on and perhaps broaden your social circle at the same time. In fact, you may find working in retirement to be such an enjoyable experience that you opt to do it as long as possible -- even if a pressing need for money doesn't actually exist.