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3 Reasons a "No Work" Retirement Might Not Work for You

By Maurie Backman - May 26, 2021 at 7:04AM

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You may not want to work during your senior years. But here's why it could pay to change that mindset.

It's common practice for seniors to hold down some type of job in retirement, even if it's very much a part-time deal. But then there are those seniors who firmly believe in the "no work" retirement -- that retirement should be a period of enjoying life and not plugging away at any sort of job whatsoever.

You might feel similarly about your senior years, and working might not be part of your plan. But here are three reasons to reconsider that notion.

1. You need the income

If you kick off your senior years with plenty of money in savings, then you might not need a job to sustain yourself. Your retirement plan withdrawals, coupled with the income you receive from Social Security, could be more than enough to cover your living costs.

But if you don't have much money in a retirement savings plan, and you're counting on Social Security to pay the bills, then you could find that your benefits fall quite short. The average senior today collects roughly $18,500 a year in benefits, and even if you live a pretty modest lifestyle, you may need more money than that to stay afloat. As such, you might have to hold down a job to avoid going into debt or struggling financially.

Gray-haired person in mask and apron at cafe counter tablet

Image source: Getty Images.

2. You get bored easily

Working full-time is a good way to occupy your time. But once that job goes away, you could struggle to fill those daytime hours in a meaningful way.

If you're the kind of person who tends to get restless quickly, then getting a job during retirement could help you avoid intense feelings of boredom that pave the way to depression. In fact, you may find working part-time enjoyable when you consider the alternative: sitting in your house without much to do.

3. You're not very active

Living a sedentary lifestyle could impact your physical health. Some people just aren't active by nature; they prefer to lounge around rather than move. And if you're that type, you may need to commit to a job if doing so gets you moving around and helps you stay healthy.

Not only should you want to stay healthy for your own sake, but keeping fit could also result in lower healthcare costs throughout retirement. And that could, in turn, help you stretch your income even further.

For some people, the idea of working during retirement is downright unappealing. But even if you feel that way right now, it pays to at least consider the upside of holding down a job. Remember, too, that thanks to the gig economy, working as a senior doesn't have to mean reporting to a retail store or office at pre-set hours. It could mean venturing out on your own or working a job at a pace and schedule that best align with your lifestyle.

And when you think about it that way, working as a senior shouldn't sound so bad.

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