Working in retirement?

Retirement isn’t quite what it used to be. For many, now, retirement means continuing to work.

I have two older brothers. Both retired in their mid-fifties but continue to work. Mark works full-time for a steel company. Bruce puts in thirty hours per week for his career firm. Do they need to work? Probably not from a financial standpoint but from a need to be busy, involved and productive. Healthy aging could mean having 30-50 years of “retirement.”

My husband retired from a career in law enforcement to owning a business. He also has a part-time job. The cost of insurance and the fact that we’re still putting kids through school motivates him.

My friend, artist David Rickert, retired from a career in graphic design. He moved to Staples anticipating lower costs of living and real estate. He still actively teaches, sells his art work and works at a liquor store.

My friends Joe and Diane Ayers retired from jobs in the metro area. They bought a farm just outside of Todd County and planted a vineyard. “It was like dropping a five-dollar bill in each hole,” said Diane as they invested their retirement income in an endeavor that is a job for them.

When we visited Glacier National Park earlier this summer, I noticed that many of the restaurant servers, gift shop clerks and tour guides were well past retirement age.

Some older folks work from a need to be busy; others out of need. Perhaps some work out of a perceived sense that their retirement plan might not hold in the test of time.

Older folks continuing to work affect the job market for the young. Is that a problem? This is an especially important question in Todd County, where one in six people is over 65 and many residents are examining how the community maintains its quality of life as it gradually gets older.

What is your plan for retirement? Will you continue to work?

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