To Work or Not to Work? 6 Questions to Ask Yourself for Retirement


1 in 5 Americans over the age of 65 are still waiting to retire.  That rate is double that of the 1980’s. And now with the baby boomers, an overwhelming amount expect to keep working in retirement, many into their late 70’s or beyond.  So why the change?  The answer could be found in increasing life expectancies, curtailment of traditional pension plans, a jittery stock market, and rising healthcare costs.  A large number of retirees are getting that part time job just to make ends meet and get the bills paid.

Even those with a large enough nest egg are still choosing to remain in the workforce.  Some found that after a time of sipping cocktails and golfing everyday, they were bored.  Or maybe they retired before their friends or spouse and had no one to hangout with so they got a part time job to have something to do while everyone else was working.  Some had the opposite experience, and by volunteering they found their life’s mission or they picked up a paintbrush and a few years later were being featured in local art galleries and starting a new career as an artist.  Or if you’re like my mom, you just want to travel the world and therefore have planned accordingly.

The point is to think about what you want your days to be like!

When planning for retirement, you need to look beyond the financial aspects.  Retirement is no longer an event where you go to work one Friday morning after thirty five years and by that Friday evening you’re retired.  You now need to look upon retirement as a process.  There is no right answer.  Your retirement is yours, but studies show that those that are most satisfied in retirement are the ones who thought and talked about their hopes for the future.

To work or not to work-that is the question!

Helen Dennis, a gerontologist in Redondo Beach, CA who specializes in aging, employment and retirement, compiled a list of six questions for the Wall Street Journal that you should ask yourself:

1). Do I need to keep working, or go back to work, for the money?

2). Would work make my retirement more worthwhile?

3). Would working in retirement help or hurt my social life?

4). If I do decide to work, should I work full-time or part-time?

5).  How exactly would I go about finding a job?

There are many resources that help retirees find employment.  I’ve included a couple here:

-Retired Brains: www.retiredbrains.com.  Connects retiring or retired workers with      employers and provides information on charitable organizations and nonprofits looking for senior volunteers.

-RetirementJobs.com: www.retirementjobs.com.  Database for employers seeking workers over the age of fifty.

6).  What if I decided not to work?

-That’s cool too!  Just make sure you are engaged in something that you enjoy daily!

Be your own boss in your new phase of life!

We’ve read a lot of success stories of retirees starting their own businesses and becoming their own bosses, and as entrepreneurs ourselves, we absolutely love these kinds of stories.  One of our favorite stories comes from the Wall Street Journal and is about a retired married couple who took some classes on wine, bought some land, and started growing their own grapes. In 2001, the couple opened their wine business and by their company’s 5th anniversary, they were producing 6,000 cases of wine annually with fifteen employees!

Or take my neighbors.  They are also a retired married couple that own different pieces of real estate around the Northwest that they Airbnb out for income.  The bookings and managing of the properties keep them busy, but with enough time to enjoy the properties and travels themselves as I see them here having fun almost as often as the different people that are there with Airbnb!

Moral of the story; it’s just as important to plan what you want your life to look like in retirement as the financial planning.  If real estate is something that you envision in your next phase of life-maybe it’s an income producing property, land to grow grapes, or a home in France to reinvent yourself-whatever real estate it is-Lasaii Benefits: IRA Real Estate to Occupy’s creative and strategic financing can help!

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Sources: The Wall Street Journal: Complete Retirement Guidebook. Green, Kelly and Ruffenach, Glenn. 2007. Dow Jones & Company.