Help pack a million meals for struggling seniors on Sept. 11. Volunteer today




Contests and

Free Fun!

AARP Games - Play Now!

PROGRAMS & resources

Best Employers for Workers Over 50

Check out the winners list and latest news about this AARP recognition program.

Employer Resource Center

Attract and retain top talent in a changing workforce.

Your Own Business

Information for business owners, entrepreneurs and the self-employed.


Learn From the Experts

Sign up now for an upcoming webinar or find materials from a past session. 

Most Popular


The Retirement Road Less Traveled

Working longer, or part time in retirement, can make a difference in your finances

One of the things we do here at AARP is listen. We listen to our members' dreams and joys, fears and frustrations, collecting literally thousands of stories about how older Americans are living. Unfortunately, it often feels like there's a whole lot more fear and frustration than infectious joy going around.

In fact, in a recent AARP survey, the age 50 and over people we talked to told us they were very worried about everything from the stock market and political gridlock, to losing their jobs, enduring another recession, and bearing the brunt of rising taxes and health care costs.

We also read our members' stories online. Barbara P., a 62-year-old, emailed us her experience, which she acknowledges is all too common. She lost her job in June, her unemployment benefits are about to run out, and she doesn't want to take the steep cut in benefits that would come with claiming Social Security at her age. Though she looks at job openings every day, she said, she's finding that her skills just don't fit today's economy. "I'm not a nurse or a truck driver, and that seems to be all that's available. I continue to look but, to put it simply, right now I'm between a rock and a hard place," Barbara wrote.

Barbara is hardly alone in her struggle. Unable to live on reduced Social Security and eroded retirement savings, more people say they plan to work longer than they had anticipated. At the same time, older workers are finding it harder to keep their jobs or land new ones.

The unemployment rate for workers ages 55 and older is more than double what it was at the outset of the recession in December 2007. And older workers are staying unemployed longer than younger job-seekers — for 52 weeks compared with about 38 weeks.

While we should all be deeply concerned about the future, we shouldn't stop planning for retirement — and we can't let go of that joyful hope. The reality is that most of us will need to work for far longer than we may have hoped, so we need to proactively manage our current careers — and think creatively about second and third careers that may give us a new sense of purpose.

If you already have a job and you plan to keep it, think about new skills that would help you compete with younger workers. In November, the Society for Human Resource Management surveyed employers about skill gaps they were seeing in their workers and job applicants. Problem-solving, professionalism and communication skills all topped the list. What can you do to fill that gap? You could take on additional job responsibilities, sign up for classes and seminars to improve your writing and computer skills and your use of technology, and maybe even freshen up your wardrobe.

But "staying in the workforce" doesn't have to mean returning to the same job and continuing to do what you've been doing for the past 20 years. The possibilities are limited only by your willingness to prepare, your determination to make things work and your imagination.

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

WIDGET component: Click "Edit" to add a widget.


Rewards for Good

Your Points Balance:

Learn More

Earn points for completing free online activities designed to enrich your life.

Find more ways to earn points

Redeem your points to save on merchandise, travel, and more.

Find more ways to redeem points

Jobs You Might Like

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Member Benefits AT&T Wireless Cell Phone

Members save 10% on monthly usage charges on qualified AT&T wireless plans.

membership adt

Small business owners save 20% on new installation of any new ADT security system.

UPS Store membership discount aarp benefits

Members save 15% on eligible products/services and 5% on UPS shipping at The UPS Store®.

Member Benefits

Renew today! Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.


Advance your skills. Transform your career.

Explore your learning possibilities.