Why you shouldn't retire at age 66

Whether it's for money or for love of work, more and more people are choosing to delay retirement. Maybe you should too.

By MSN Money Partner May 1, 2013 1:38PM

This post comes from Trisha Sherven at partner site Money Talks News

Money Talks News logoAsk a baby boomer who they are and they'll most likely tell you what they do. This is a generation of hard-working people, proud of their life's accomplishments. So when they hit that 66th birthday and are eligible for Social Security, many boomers aren't ready to retire.


The U.S. Census Bureau says (.pdf file) the rate of participation of people 65 and older in the workforce increased from 12.1% in 1990 to 16.1% in 2010, and was 16.2% in 2011. Surveys show a growing number of workers 40 and over are also planning to work beyond retirement age.

Image: Man counting money (© Flying Colours Ltd/Getty Images/Getty Images)Why is this? Baby boomers -- people born between 1946 and 1964 -- have a lot going on. They're living longer, to an average of 83 years, the federal government says. They have a lot of financial and familial responsibilities. AARP reports that half of all baby boomers and two-thirds of younger boomers have children under age 18 living at home. More than a third of boomers take care of an aging parent.

So, for some people, earning money is essential. But there are multiple reasons to stay on the job. Here are some of the most significant ones:

  • You need money. Social Security and whatever retirement savings you have may not cover your expenses. Plus, the longer you put off getting Social Security, the more you'll receive each month over the rest of your lifetime.
  • You love to work. Baby boomers have a competitive, proud spirit and that is nurtured through working. They're typically confident and great leaders in a workplace.
  • You enjoy the social and mental benefits of working. Collaboration, time management, problem solving, innovation and creativity are all necessary skills on the job. Staying in the workplace helps keep those skills sharp.
  • You want to leave a legacy. For some people of retirement age, work is an opportunity to have a lasting, meaningful impact.

Regardless of why you want to work in your retirement years, the obvious and often best choice is to remain in your current job -- if there is no forced retirement age.

Otherwise, here are some steps you can take:

  • Use employment services. The U.S. Department of Labor provides links to workforce services all over the country, where you can search for jobs, access training and even get help with job placement. Most of these services are free. You can also try temp agencies, individual career counselors and other job placement services.
  • Volunteer. A typical boomer spends 51 hours a year volunteering, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Volunteering keeps you involved in a work and social environment. Sometimes a non-paid position can lead to a paid one too.
  • Network. The oldest method to get a job is to network. In fact, plenty of baby boomers will tell you they've never actually applied for a job -- they've always been referred to an employer by someone else. So whether it's in person, through friends and family, or via the Internet using websites such as LinkedIn or Facebook, network your way to your next job.

While you're at it, consider these other tips for making yourself more valued in the competition for jobs:

  • Banish stereotypes. Blow those all-too-typical older worker profiles out of the water by staying on top of technology. Take a class, enlist the help of family or use any other available resource to stay current.
  • Use age as an advantage. During interviews, concisely state how your experience and work ethic will help the company. Focus on accomplishments and how they translate to the needs of your prospective company.
  • Consider a smaller company. Companies with fewer than 500 employees have created 64% of the new jobs in the U.S. from 1992 to 2010, according to the BLS.
  • Be flexible. One of the greatest assets a retiree has to an employer is flexibility in schedule and type of work. Older workers may not need benefits or full-time work the way younger workers do. Part-time and project work are also great ways to prove your worth and ability to an employer.

No matter why you work, there are plenty of ways to stay engaged and employed. If 50 is the new 30, then retirement age can certainly wait.

More on Money Talks News:


May 1, 2013 3:16PM
I retired at age 58 and I am now 80 .. Guess what, it was the best thing I ever did!!!!!! Who needs to drop dead on the job. I say, "Get out and live a little!", you only have one life to live.
May 1, 2013 2:41PM

Written by MSN partner...hmm....US.gov speaking? 

Message is....

Don't retire we can't pay you! 

Work till your 66 and then live for 3-4 years. We will pay you for that amount of time or less if we can.

Don't take any SS  then we will have more to blow on our pet projects.

Oh yeah, and keep working so you keep paying into the system. We love your money!


Message recieved...I'm going out at 62. Thanks for the info!!


May 1, 2013 2:47PM
Please. Stop trying to convince people to work till they drop. You are not thinking of their best interest. You are doing this to help the government and their programs. You do not want people drawing money out , you want them to keep putting in. You should all be ashamed of yourselves. It is only about money for the government and the governments well being.  I will stop working and start drawing out asap....... while i can still enjoy my retirement. MSN is a Tool.
May 1, 2013 3:01PM
I bailed at 62. I can finally sleep at night and no longer have to worry about another BS deadline.
May 1, 2013 3:25PM
If I read one more article about delaying retirement I'm gonna puke.  The social and mental benefits mentioned in the article weren't there my entire working life, and I got my first job at age 14.  Why will they suddenly be there at 66!?!

I retired early and it was the best decision I ever made even though it means less money.  If you can't figure out how to enjoy life in retirement, then you probably aren't much fun to be around anyway.  I don't need a dang job to define who I am.
May 1, 2013 4:45PM
Great set of posts. The only thing I can add, this notion that folks will be living longer is pure nonsense. Retire as soon as possible and enjoy.
May 1, 2013 3:09PM

Dont retire at 66? Geez, I dont plan on working  after I turn 60. Anyone who loves to work usually has no idea how to enjoy free time.

May 1, 2013 7:34PM
Work until you die. Then, your co-workers will remember you as "that old guy that worked until he died". There's your f***ing legacy. HAHAHAHA
May 1, 2013 3:23PM

Why would anyone WAIT to enjoy their last years?


I suppose I could work, paying into the system, until I dropped dead, but that would only serve the government and not me.


I would advocate to retire at the earliest possible time, if one has the means.  59 1/2. 


The odds of waiting later to retire AND be in good health (to enjoy retirement) must go down greatly with every passing month.

May 1, 2013 4:10PM

I retired at age 60; I might have worked two or three more years if my boss had not been so abusive.  If I had worked 3 more years, I would have received another 6 percent in my defined pension.  Since I am frugal and been careful with debt, I have been able to maintain my lifestyle.


Working another 3 years in a job I grew to hate after three decades would not have added alot to my life nor my retirement income.  I doubt it would have extended my life expectancy either.


I have friends in the late 50s who lost their fulltime jobs with benefits.  They would have liked to work till at least 62, now they are SOL, and lucky if they can work p/t and try to recoup some of their financial losses.  Worse case scenario, they are already retired at 58 with no pension.


Our society says it wants boomers to keep working till 66 or older, but many of us cannot find a job afte a layoff, and then others like myself work under difficult daily circumstances and just want to retire to keep our sanity and good spirits.


May 1, 2013 7:31PM
F.......U...... As soon as I am eligible, I will start collecting the money I have given the government for my retirement. If you believe that the retirement age should be higher then you wait until then to collect your money. Moron.
May 1, 2013 8:14PM
Work until you die, I don't think so. Years of your life are one thing that Money can't buy. The author of this article can work until he or she is 70 or 75, enjoy!!!
May 1, 2013 7:37PM
Hey, Trisha - you consultant fool - you work till you drop.  Are you some kind of government puppet feeding us this crap?  I worked over 40 years and want to get the hell out of the rat race.  I do like my job, but why should I work to support low life welfare sapping dummies?  Why don't you give advice to these scum to help get them jobs and maybe help support me?  I don't even know if I'll live till 66.  I like the picture of the butt plug with money in his hand, and the fool on the beach with his arms flapping.  Experts like you and the hot air you expel are both worthless, unless that hot air could help heat my home.
May 1, 2013 7:42PM
oh yeah, Trish - and I cannot forget all the slime who can't work and go on disability for some other stupid reason.  I'll work till I'm 90 to support them?  Count the thumbs up against you smarty!  Smart people like you are a dime a dozen - get a real job, and work till your 90!
May 1, 2013 2:52PM

With every government message being, we're keeping entitlements, then why should i wourk any longer to bail them out?


My advice to pending retirees is:

> If you're planning on retirement, take the lump sum option if available. They can't keep it from you if you already have it in hand.


> Take advantage of IRAs, life insurance values.


> if you must seek work, find something less demanding that will pay you out of pocket spending money without the demand of a 40-50 hr. week. What I will most likely do at age 66.

May 1, 2013 4:37PM
If we keep telling people to keep working, how will we ever solve the unemployment issue and the slow economy.   If every one works 2 more years than they had planned, and a typical work life is 40years, then 5% of the workforce is NOT retiring when it would have.
So, wouldn't unemployment rate drop 5% if everyone retired when they wanted to instead of waiting 2 years?
I am 59, was hoping to retire now, but due to no interest on my savings, uncertainty of healthcare costs, and concern for hyper inflation, I will wait 2 more years.
If I did retire, someone would be promoted to replace me, someone would be promoted to replace that person, and we would hire a new graduate to replace that person,.   If I am comfortable to retire, I am now spending.  The two promotions increase their spending and the new hire can now buy a car, house, etc. 
Unemployment issue is solved, economy is booming!!   
Can someone explain the error in my thinking?  

May 1, 2013 5:44PM
Don't listen to the BS article folks retire at 62 and demand more from social Security, it has a 2.7 trillion dollar surplus and by raising the wage cap doubling the payout is sustainable.
May 1, 2013 7:57PM
What is life expectancy IN GOOD HEALTH (i.e. the number of years you might expect to live without chronic health issues)? The truth is most people will start having health issues in their late 50's - early 60's. 
May 1, 2013 3:03PM

This is also part of the reason why college graduates can't get jobs.  Boomers aren't retiring, so the next generation isn't moving up to fill their positions.  That creates a shortage of job vacancies at more entry-level/college graduate positions. 

May 1, 2013 3:37PM
Retirement is for the breeders and workaholics.  I have never worked more than part time.  I have no debt of any kind and retired at 52.  Maybe I should work harder so I can leave a legacy, to funny. Nice try gov.  They are trying the same **** in Canada.
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