Friday, February 22, 2013

UnRetiring -- Check Out the Numbers

Work: Until death do us part?
For the record, how many people age 65 and over are -- officially --  working?  And why are they doing so?
 New data for 2012 from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics,  shows that 30 percent of those 65 to 69 are employed and another 7 percent consider themselves still in the labor force and unemployed.  When you parse those numbers by sex and race, it turns out that Asian men are the longest working -- 36 percent of those 65-69 still bring home a paycheck.
Many folks even older are only slowing down a little. Take a look at those 70 to 74: for that group, 18 percent are working and another 6 percent are job hunting.
Why are they working?
Check out National Public Radio, which is reporting on these diehards in their ongoing series, "working late".

Clearly, some of those counted by the BLS have never left their careers or longtime jobs. But others are "working in retirement," a phrase you might consider an oxymoron. The 2008 National Study of the Changing Workforce quantified the reasons why"working retirees" still work. The study looked at people 50 and over and apparently allowed them to cite multiple reasons. It's likely that even a larger percentage are now working for the money since this 2008 (pre-recession) study.

Reasons for Working among Workers 50+ -- Working Retirees
I want to keep earning money to retire more comfortably.                 53%
I would be bored not working.                                                             31%
I keep working because income from other sources is not enough. 18%
I want to feel productive, useful, helpful.                                             18%
I have a job that is fun, enjoyable.                                                      15%
I want to interact with people.                                                             13%
I want to stay physically/mentally active.                                           12%
I need health insurance.                                                                       6%
I am pursuing my dream: I have a job doing what I want to.               6%
I want to learn new things.                                                                   2%
Other                                                                                                    9%
Source: National Study of the Changing Workforce, 2008

In my own reporting, I've found a lot of people who say they're working even if the federal government isn't counting them. They're working but not for pay. Some just can't break old habits and slow down.  Take Flora Wolf,  who, a year and a half after leaving Common Pleas Court,  can't shed her work ethic.
Says Judge Wolf, "I still can't read a book in daylight."

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