Why Working In Retirement Doesn’t Always Work

As we’ve all heard, even the best-laid plans can go awry.

When those plans involve retirement, the stakes are high. Let’s say you were planning on continuing to work in retirement to supplement your monthly income. It’s easy to see how a change in those plans could impact you significantly.

Sadly, some people interviewed by Business Insider found that to be the case in a recent article.1 Among the workers interviewed was a salesman with 42 years of experience and a veteran of the screen-printing industry. Each of them said that finding a new job as an older worker was a challenge, and they wondered if their experience was common.

The answer may be yes, at least as a trend. A study from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco found that age can impact callback rates.2 The study found that older female candidates for administrative positions were called back at a 47% lower rate than their younger competitors. For women seeking sales-related positions, the rate was 36%.

There were discrepancies among male applicants, as well. Receiving a call back is just one measurement of job search success, but it can be a strong one. As other pre-retirees and retirees discovered, even if you aren’t looking for a job, layoffs or forced retirement could change your plans.

A ProPublica.org study that workers who enter their 50s holding full-time, long-term positions were often being pushed out of their positions by employers. Overall, the study found that of this group, 56% experienced employer-driven job loss, and only 16% were still working.3

The ProPublica study also points out another uncomfortable finding. Of those people who had some employment setback, such as an employer-driven job loss, only 10% were able to ever earn as much as they did before their employment setback. Even looking at data years later, those workers remained noticeably behind their peers who didn’t experience an employment disruption.

While that’s a lot of doom and gloom, there is reason to be hopeful about your future, as long as you are heading into it with your eyes wide open. Pre-retirees and retirees who know they’ll be depending on continuing income sources to reach their retirement goals can plan accordingly. Additional budgeting can trim your bottom line and working with a financial services professional can help you prepare a workable strategy for income in retirement.

The point that this research makes is important: It may be natural or easy to assume that you’ll be able to keep your full-time, long-time job if you continue to perform, and you want it. And that could be a dangerous idea.

If you have questions on how your retirement strategy can be changed to adapt to the future, you may want to reach out and set up a time to talk with a financial services professional.

That way, if your best-laid plans go awry, you’ll have a backup plan in place to help you adapt on the fly. At the end of the day, everyone wants the retirement they’ve always dreamed of — make sure you develop a strategy that can help you absorb the unexpected and stay on course.


1 https://www.businessinsider.com/working-in-retirement-doesnt-work-for-many-retirees

2 http://www.frbsf.org/economic-research/publications/economic-letter/2017/february/age-discrimination-and-hiring-older-workers/

3 https://www.propublica.org/article/older-workers-united-states-pushed-out-of-work-forced-retirement