When it comes to retirement, a whopping 75 percent of Americans say they plan to work “as long as possible” in retirement, according to a new report from Bankrate.com. And for many of them, it’s not because they love their jobs:

  • 38 percent say they are planning to work because they want to
  • 35 percent say they plan to work because they need the money
  • And 27 percent said they plan to work because they need the money and want to work

And according to the Bankrate.com survey, 47 percent of retirees are either very worried or somewhat worried about outliving their retirement savings. That’s up from 37 percent the last time that question was asked, in 2009.

What’s almost shocking? Only 25 percent said they had no plans to work during retirement.

“Working during retirement brings a lot of benefits,” says Jill Cornfield, Bankrate.com retirement analyst. “I’m not surprised that nearly three quarters of people said they’d like to work as long as they can while in retirement. It’s not just the money. When you can work as a consultant or find some part-time gig, it really helps you stay sharp.”


A reality check for most people planning to work through retirement: Most surveys show that even though a majority of Americans plan to keep working, most find they cannot because of health issues, layoffs or because they have to care for spouses or parents.

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Question of the week: Are you planning to work in retirement? Send comments to rodney.brooks@washpost.com. Please include your name, city and state. In the subject line put “To work or not”


Last week’s question: Would you retire at 60, or would you keep working? Why?

Steve Parsons wrote:

My plan is to work until age 67. Based on my birth date, my full retirement age is 66 years, 10 months. I have a plan and I am following it.

Robert H. Appleby of Durham, N.C.:

I am now 84, but I retired at 58, but went to work part-time as a church facilities manager, which was a full-time job.
That lasted two years and my son asked me to step in as president of his startup company (one in which his partner was pilfering money). That lasted two years, until an investor wanted to be president, so I retired completely from gainful employment. Went to work as executive director of a nonprofit as a volunteer. That lasted four years until I finally realized that the BOD did not understand that one of their duties was to raise money. Since then, I have been involved in many different nonprofit organizations and a political party. But today, I am relatively idle.
Yes, I would retire at 60, and let younger people into the job market. Too many volunteer opportunities for people to not be idle.

Stephen Brodeur of Woburn, Mass.:

I’ll be ready to retire when the time comes, as long as I can convince myself I can afford it.
I’m only 57 now, but the only things stopping me from retiring are financial. (I have 2 in college, and healthcare would be even more of a whopper if I pulled the plug before 65!) There’s a million things I want to do, and I want to be healthy enough to enjoy them.
I had a co-worker some years back who took early retirement at age 59. He said, “If I run out of money, I’ll start working again at 80! My grandchildren are young now, and I’m healthy enough to really enjoy the things I want to do.” It’s been 20 years now and he hasn’t yet called to ask for his old job back!

My most recent retirement columns:

Michelle Singletary’s Color of Money columns:

Write Brooks at The Washington Post, 1301 K St. NW, Washington, D.C., 20071, or rodney.brooks@washpost.com. On Twitter @Perfiguy. Personal responses may not be possible, and comments or questions may be used in a future column, with the writer’s name, unless otherwise requested. To read more, go to washingtonpost.com/business