Working in retirement might sound like a contradiction in terms, but that’s not necessarily the case. Just because you have moved on from your primary career doesn’t mean a part of your week can’t or shouldn’t go to some moneymaking endeavor. Part-time, freelance or consulting work—or volunteering—can add to your retirement satisfaction and round out your schedule. And then there are the financial benefits. Here are eight specific reasons to consider reentering the job market.
1. A cushion for your savings
“Working longer is going to be a really powerful lever to increase the money available in retirement, because you’re not drawing down your savings and it gives you more of an opportunity to save,” says Anqi Chen of the Boston College Center for Retirement Research. Don’t assume you have to pound the pavement, searching for a high-paying job, because earning just a portion of your previous salary can make a difference financially; a 2020 paper from the center found that for people 62 and older, even jobs that don’t offer health and retirement benefits can substantially improve retirement security.
2. Exercise for your brain
The University of Michigan’s Health and Retirement Study (HRS), which has been tracking participants over age 50 for decades, “pretty strongly shows that continuing to work has benefits for cognition,” says Amanda Sonnega, associate research scientist at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research. (This isn’t just because people with better cognitive health are better able to work, she says.) You can get a particular kind of benefit by switching to a different type of job or role: Learning new things—psychologists call it “novelty processing”—may help slow cognitive decline.