More Older Adults Expected in Workforce by 2031

While many older adults took retirement during the height of the pandemic, not all have stayed away from the workplace.  Some retirees found new passion projects that led to employment, while others discovered they missed the social aspect of going to work as well as the paycheck amid soaring cost of living increases.  The U.S. Bureau of Labor expects almost a third of people between 65 and 74 will still be working or looking for work by 2031. According to a recent Smart Asset study, in 2001, only about 20 percent of seniors in this age group remained in the workforce.  

The number of seniors still in the labour force varies by city across the United States.  Dallas, for example, had the most seniors – more than 26 percent still actively working while older adults had a more difficult time finding paid work in Los Angeles, Boston and Las Vegas.  By working part-time in retirement, older adults may be able to delay claiming social security to maximize their benefits up until age 70.  

A payroll services company, Paychex, found from its data that about 1 in 6 current retirees (about 17 percent) were considering going back to work.  Half of them reported that financial need was driving the decision. Fifty-three percent of those who were thinking of going back to work wanted to work remotely. To make room for middle-aged and younger workers, however, some employers are offering buy-outs or creating positions with shortened work weeks overseeing and training younger workers. 

Finding a meaningful second-act career is key in deciding to return to the workforce, even part-time, after retirement.  Using free time to earn money rather than spend money can also drive the desire to find post-retirement employment.  Understanding the forces behind wanting to find work can help retirees look for positions that will fulfill their needs and interests.  For many, having a sense of purpose and value is as important as the paycheck which might allow for travel or pursuit of other hobbies.  For others, working can be a way to stay physically and mentally active while staying socially connected – but older workers may also need to consider any potential stress or strain that might result from certain positions.   Most of all – find something you love!