The average 60-something has $112,500 socked away for retirement, says Northwestern Mutual. And that, frankly, isn’t a whole lot of money over the course of what could be a 20-year retirement or longer.
If your 401(k) or IRA balance is in comparable shape, you may need to get on board with the idea of working beyond what’s generally considered traditional retirement age. That way, you could not only grow your savings a bit but also avoid tapping them for a few extra years.
When we talk about traditional retirement age, we’re generally referring to the mid- to late-60s. In fact, age 67 is full retirement age for Social Security purposes for anyone born in 1960 or later.
But what if you aren’t in poor shape financially come retirement age? It may be that you’ve saved really well and have invested your money wisely so that you’re sitting on quite a substantial nest egg.
You might assume that in that situation, there’s no sense in pushing yourself to work beyond retirement age. But here’s why you’d be wrong.
Clearly, working longer means earning an income for an additional number of years. But the benefits of continuing to work extend far beyond that.
For one thing, retirement can be an isolating experience for a lot of people, while work can, in many cases, serve as a built-in social outlet. Even if you’re not best friends with your colleagues and don’t socialize with them outside of the office, there’s still value in having people around to talk to. For that reason alone, you may want to stick out a job that isn’t particularly demanding.
Furthermore, for some people, work is what gets them moving every day. Even if you have a desk job, you probably need to walk around the office to attend meetings and gather supplies. Even if you drive to work, there may be some sort of physical activity involved in getting there, such as walking a few blocks from your parking garage.
Some people find that their physical fitness level declines in retirement. This isn’t due to aging but to not being mobile. Working longer can help stave off issues of that nature.
Finally, holding down a job might be the thing that makes you feel like you have a purpose. There’s a huge mental health benefit there.
If your job is extremely stressful and you can afford to retire on time, then it could pay to do so. But if you like your job or something about your job, such as your co-workers, then it pays to consider sticking with it past retirement age.
You may find that continuing to work does great things for your health. So even if you’re someone with a nest egg worth millions of dollars, it’s easy enough to make the argument that there’s a lot of value in not rushing to exit the labor force.
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