January 24, 2018 — The Topretirements.com survey from last week asked 11 questions about your plans or experiences concerning work after retirement. Over 400 members gave back to this community by taking the time to respond (thank you on behalf of everyone who will profit from your investment!). This article will summarize the overall results along with the data for each question. And, since so many people shared their opinions, we have provided you with summary documents where you can read all of the practical ideas, experiences, and concerns given to the open-ended questions.
– Slightly over half of our Members (51%) are working after they retire – a higher percentage than we would have thought. Most are doing part time work, which is a clear preference. A small percentage (7%) are doing volunteer work. Very few have a full-time job.
– Many of our members who are not yet retired are not sure if they will work or not. Although 51% say they will definitely or probably work after retirement, 21% say they haven’t decided.
– When asked what kind of work they would like to do after they retire, they cited many types, but volunteer work was the number one. Only a small percentage are interested in starting a new business.
– When it comes to motivations for working after retirement, staying busy is by far the most important reason.
– Most people spend very little time planning for work after retirement.
– Those who do work seem very content. They seem to love staying busy and engaged, and are doing an amazing array of jobs (see comments later on).
– Most people who want to work are able to find something suitable rather easily.
Results on each question
1. Retired vs. Non-retired, Age
Of those completing the survey some two-thirds are retired or partially retired. Ten percent of respondents are partially retired. Agewise, 51% were between 55-65, and 46% were over 65.
2. Already retired: Working or Non-working
A slight majority of people (51%) are working (full, part time, or have a regular volunteer job). Some 34% say they will not work.
Am working part-time
Will not work
Looking for work
There were almost 100 comments written in to amplify their responses. The majority seemed very happy with their choice to work or not work, although some wish they didn’t have to work or can’t find something suitable. To give you a flavor, here are some randomly selected responses (use this link to see all the “am retired-jobs” comments):
– I have chosen to retire early and explore entirely unrelated work to that which I did as a profession. That work is not so much for its monetary benefit as it is to grow, learn and contribute in meaningful ways.
– I have a part-time business that I’m doing from home AND I am working part-time at the school where I used to teach, doing something related to teaching but not subbing (I am testing kids on their English proficiency; not doing classroom teaching anymore.)
– I was forced into retirement 18 months prior to my goal of retiring. Now moved to South Carolina from Chicago I can’t seem to get an interview, yet a job.
– Retail. Low pay. A somewhat dysfunctional/distrusting atmosphere. Very difficult on the body. Most workers are much younger~Ageism is apparent. Most coworkers are uneducated but “street smart.” Definitely NOT an intellectually stimulating environment.
– I am signed up with temporary placement firms for temporary assignments only. I sometimes work 40 hrs/wk and sometimes 20-30 hrs/wk, and frequently I do not work at all. I would like more jobs, but the agencies do not have many clients looking for temporary workers.
3. Not retired: Will Work vs. Won’t Work
We asked folks who are still working the same question as above so we could compare their responses with those who are already retired. One big difference between the unretired and the retired was understandable – folks who aren’t retired yet are not sure what they will do (21%). Fewer of the un-retired people (18%) say they probably or definitely won’t work – suggesting that they are open to work but once they retire they either change their minds or can’t find something suitable.
There were also quite a few write-in comments to this question from pre-retirees. Most said they are interested in something part-time, interesting, or on a volunteer basis. Here are a few sample comments:
– Focus more on purpose of work than salary
– I need to stay active, mentally, socially and physically. I plan to do this through charity work and part time Work.
– My current job is currently in process of setting up a half-time, remote employee position for me. I will be working via the internet, with occasional visits to my college where I work now. It feels great to be so valued, particularly at my age.
– I thought I had fully retired on 7/31/2013 and then 8 weeks later a former colleague convinced me to join him in a business venture. I have been working either full or part time with him ever since. I love it most of the time.
4. If you do plan on working, will it be full or part-time?
This question was intended for people who do plan on working. The overwhelming choice is for part-time work (67%), a preference we saw in other questions.
5. What kind of post-retirement work are you interested in.
The strong favorite kind of post-retirement job is volunteer work – 118 said they were very interested in that, and 247 said they were very or somewhat interested. Next highly ranked for “very interested” was “something related to what they are doing now”.
Something brand new
Related to curr.
Start own business
6. Motivations for working in post-retirement
“Staying busy” is by far the major reason why Topretirements members want to work after they retire (150 said this was very important, 276 said very or somewhat important). Next most important were to “follow my passion”, and “get out of the house”. Fortunately for our Members, “need the money” was one of the least chosen reasons for working.
Follow my passion
Get out of house
Need the money
7. Would you be to go back to school to prepare for a new job after you retire?
The answer to that question is “not very likely”. Some 63% said they were definitely not likely to go back to school; only 13% said they were very or somewhat likely to return for more job related schooling.
8. Rate the state of your planning for working after you retire.
We know that many people do not do a good job of planning for retirement. But it was still surprising to see such a small percentage of people who say they spent a lot time on retirement planning (only 13%). This might reflect that they just didn’t plan on the question of work after retirement, but did plan on other aspects of planning. One third said they spent some time planning, and another reported no time at all on the planning process.
Some time spent planning
No time spent
Spent a lot of time
9. What kind of success did have in finding work after retirement?
Most people who were interested in working something found it pretty quickly (27% of total). Only 19% found it either took a long time or couldn’t find what they were looking for. Sixty six people provided commentary on their experience, and those are interesting – Success finding a job.
Found job quickly
Took a lot of time
Found, but not what wanted
10. How would you rate your confidence that you will be able to maintain your pre-retirement lifestyle in retirement?
For three quarters of the 418 people who completed our survey, retirement is likely to be comfortable. That is the percentage who said they were extremely (33%) or somewhat confident (40%) they would be able to maintain their pre-retirement lifestyle. Only 10% were not all confident.
11. Concerns, expectations, and experiences about working after retirement.
Thanks to the 174 Members who generously shared your insights and experiences on this question. Since we don’t have room to provide more than the briefest sample of those comments, here is a link to all of those comments. Of course we also invite you to offer additional commentary at the bottom of this article too.
This is just a tiny sampling of the many, many comments we received, all of them are worth reading for additional insights.
– No concerns, life is great.
– What took the longest to find was a job that wouldn’t treat me like a teenager getting their first job. I had no interest in
being micromanaged. I found a job with flexibility and a great boss. I wish it was only 15 hours but they added another 5
hours a week to it. 20 hours is a lot when you’ve been retired 1.5 years! But I had to work because we moved to an area I
do not know ANYONE. Finding this job was an absolute saving grace.
– Don’t need the money for now and should not. Looked for volunteer work both within and outside my areas of expertise.
Want flexibility in whatever choices I make. Live in a tourist area and love interacting with visitors. Trying something new
in a volunteer spot is great as you can easily move on if it is not a good fit.
– Was forced to retire 5 years before I had planned to retire. I had 1/3 of the funding needed for a normal retirement. Now I am playing catch-up.. hard to do when no outside income from a job is coming in… Luckily I like what I am doing and am learning a lot more about doing it by experience.
– I can’t Imagine not working for pay or as a volunteer in something that excites my brain for many years to come. But I want the control over the amount of time and the schedule.
– I have discovered my passion for Humanitarian and Disaster Relief. I bring program/project management expertise along with logistics and operations skills. I have no interest in working for pay. It offers adventure, travel, physical work, and an opportunity to challenge myself in ways I never anticipated and I will never grow old regretting that I didn’t “go for it”. Most of all, I am learning compassion!
Bottom line: Great job everyone – each and every one of your comments is greatly appreciated!
Comments: Please share your additional comments below. Note that the invitation to this survey produced 14 comments, which we have included as the first Comment below.
Interested in more working in retirement ideas?
Topretirements Working and Volunteering Blog posts
NextAvenue – Find Part Time Work in Retirement
Turn Your Passion into Retirement Income
More Topretirements Surveys:
Retirement Planning – Our Members Are on the Move
Half of Topretirements Members Confident They Will Be Able to Maintain Pre-Retirement Lifestyle
Spousal Compatibility, Areas of Incompatibility, and Predictions of Retirement Happiness
Florida and Southeast Top Your “Where to Retire” Preferences
Topretirements Members Report High Degrees of Spousal Compatibility- 2013
Retirement Living Preferences – 2013
Medicare Survey – 2012
Best and Worst Things About Your Retirement
Your Bucket Lists Are Amazing
Top Concerns about Retirement
Plans for Retirement
This is a link to your suggestions about future article topics.