The age for full retirement has gone up, and many people saw their retirement savings decimated during the Great Recession about a decade ago. As a result, many people are still working past the age of 65. In 1985, only 10 percent of people over the age of 65 were working or looking for employment, but those numbers have now doubled. Many of these workers are taking home fat paychecks, but the ability to keep working will depend on things like the kind of work a person does and her level of education. Let’s take a look at who is working past 65 today.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) thinks the trend of working later in life will continue. The Bureau estimates that by the year 2024, there will be about 13 million people age 65 and older still in the workforce. The people who are working later tend to be healthy, well-educated, white-collar workers.
Because white-collar jobs are less physically demanding than blue-collar positions, it is easier for people to continue doing white collar work past the traditional retirement age. A 70-year-old is more likely to be able to perform a desk job for eight hours a day than operate a jackhammer at a construction site. Of course, if a person begins to suffer memory or other cognitive issues with age, white collar jobs might not be an option.
How Today’s Older Worker Differs from Those in 1985
In 1985, the average person still working past the age of 65 made $48,000 a year. Only 25 percent of these workers had at least a college degree. After adjusting for inflation, today’s worker who is past the traditional retirement age makes $78,000 a year on the average. Fifty-three percent of today’s older workers have at least a college degree.
People who are working past the age of 65 today also make more money than current younger workers. The average income for workers in the 65+ category is $78,000 a year, compared to $55,000 a year for people under the age of 65.
How to Keep Working After Age 65
Many people view their work as their identity. They do not want to quit working – ever. If that description fits you, there are steps you can take to stay on the job past the traditional retirement age.
If your job is physically demanding, you might want to make your way into management. You could stay in the industry you know and love, while leaving the back-breaking work to the younger generation. Another option is to get additional education or job training that will give you the qualifications you need for less physically-exhausting work.
Consulting and freelancing can be viable options for many people over the age of 65. In these fields, your wealth of knowledge and experience are assets, as long as you are computer-savvy and stay up-to-date on developments in your field.
Stay socially active to keep your “little grey cells” healthy and to build your circle of contacts. Some of the best jobs never show up on employment listings. Build relationships that can lead to plum positions that pay well and respect your abilities.
AARP. “More Americans Working Past 65.” (accessed May 2, 2019) https://www.aarp.org/work/employers/info-2019/americans-working-past-65.html