After a lifetime of working, it's certainly fun to dream about playing golf, laying on the beach and not having to deal with bosses or customers. But after a few months of relaxation, some retirees find that they miss the friends, structure and steady paychecks their career provided. Here are some of the reasons you might not enjoy retirement:
Like your job. If you enjoy the work you are doing, there's no reason to leave just because you hit a certain age. "A lot of times, your job defines who you are and you take part of your identity through what you do for a living," says Dana Anspach, a certified financial planner and author of "Control Your Retirement Destiny." If you retire, how will you answer the question: What do you do?
Need the money. Saving up enough money to pay for a 30-year retirement is a daunting prospect. "Many Americans don't have enough money to retire in this ultra-low interest rate environment," says Kimberly Foss, a certified financial planner and author of "Wealthy by Design: A 5-Step Plan for Financial Security." "The boomers are squeezed by their kids going to college, the kids moving back home and also having aging parents who are living a long time, too." Delaying retirement gives you more time to save and shortens the number of retirement years you need to save up for.
Avoid lifestyle cuts. Retirement often involves cutting back your lifestyle so you can live on the amount you have saved. Your retirement years could involve downsizing to a smaller house or condo, clipping coupons and eating at home to save money. "Some people can't give up the nice dinners out and latest style of clothing. They want to travel in retirement," Anspach says. A retirement job could give you some extra income to pay for luxuries.
Your health. Continuing to work could have a positive impact on your health. A recent study of about 429,000 self-employed workers in France by the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research, found people who retire later have a lower risk of developing dementia. "For each extra year of work before retirement, it lowers the risk of getting dementia by 3.2 percent," says Carole Dufouil, a director of research at the institute. "This is in line with the 'use it or lose it' hypothesis, which says that as long as you use your brain, it is efficient."
Better social life. Friendships are often forged with colleagues and might include lunches out or after-work drinks. You aren't likely to get invited to these events when you no longer share the same office.
Marital harmony. Retirement requires you to establish a new dynamic at home that will often include much more face time with your spouse than you had while working, which can create challenges for your marriage. The transition can go more smoothly if you have a job outside the home. "Being stuck at home every day, all day, can lead to some real issues in people's marriages," says Nancy Collamer, a career coach and author of "Second-Act Careers: 50+ Ways to Profit from Your Passions During Semi-Retirement." "By having something else in your life, it enables you to quite frankly get out of each other's hair."
Bigger Social Security checks. You get bigger Social Security benefits if you delay claiming your payments between ages 62 and 70. For example, a baby boomer who could get $750 per month at age 62 would get $1,000 per month at age 66 and $1,320 monthly at age 70. After age 70, there is no additional benefit to delaying your payments. Social Security benefits are calculated based on your 35 highest-earning years in the workforce. So, if you earn more than you did earlier in your career, you could further boost your payments.
Continue to defer taxes. Retirees are generally required to take withdrawals from their retirement accounts after age 70 and to pay the resulting income tax on the amount withdrawn. However, if you continue to work in your 70s or later, and don't own 5 percent or more of the company maintaining the plan, some 401(k) plans - but not IRAs - will allow you to defer withdrawals from that 401(k) account until you actually retire.
Workplace benefits. The group health and retirement benefits you get through a job are often better than what you could buy on your own as a retiree, which is particularly important for people not yet old enough to qualify for Medicare. Many workplaces also provide other perks including company-paid travel, discounts on company merchandise and the occasional company party.
Helping others. Whether by mentoring younger employees or providing a service to the community, many workers help people through their jobs. The rewards you get from providing a valuable service often go beyond any paycheck you receive. "By the time people are well into their 50s, they generally are less driven by the next promotion or opportunity on the job," Collamer says. "They tend to be more motivated by wanting to make a difference in the world."
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