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Top Reason Aging Clients Keep Working2

Gary McPherson, an Australian music psychologist, discovered that he could predict how well a child would be able to play an instrument before their first lesson. He studied 157 students from seven years old through high school. He predicted their success by asking them this simple question, “How long do you think you’ll play your instrument?” Possible answers were: through the end of the year, through primary school, through high school, or all my life. Students who indicated a long-term commitment outperformed the others. Their success was triggered by a strong sense of purpose. 

Likewise, having a purpose can be the key to a fulfilling retirement. Like McPherson, you can likely predict how well a client’s retirement will go based on whether or not they appear to have a purpose for their future. For some, a way of maintaining a sense of purpose can be continuing to work.  


What We'll Cover

  • Does your client have to work?
  • What if your client wants to work?
  • What resources are available to help?


First, Does your client have to work?

As their financial professional, you’re in a good position to help your clients who are considering retirement to answer this question from a financial standpoint. Will their income sources, e.g. social security, pensions, investment income, provide enough income to satisfy their lifestyle? If not, working longer can be a solution. But make sure clients understand how working could affect their social security benefits after they've filed, and health care coverage. 

Clients can get a double penalty from social security

First, if they begin taking Social Security before their full retirement age, their payments will be reduced. Second, if they earn more than Social Security’s earning limits, their benefits will be reduced by $1 for every $2 they earn over the limit. They may get the second penalty back from Social Security after they reach full retirement age, but it’s a complicated formula and can take a long time.1


How can not working affect health insurance coverage?

If your clients retire before age 65, they won’t get Medicare coverage. Most part-time jobs won’t provide health care insurance. The cost of purchasing their health care insurance can cost tens of thousands of dollars.


Second, What if your client wants to work?

A 2021 EBRI (Employee Benefits Research Institute) surveyed working retirees about their reasons for working. The number one reason was that they want to stay active and involved (88 percent). A second reason was that they enjoyed working (78%).2 While money alone is the appeal for many to continue working past their traditional retirement age, others see work as providing a sense of purpose, personal meaning, and a vital connection to the social network of people they spend more waking hours with than their family.

If your clients want to keep working, ask them what they enjoy doing, what they’re good at, or if there’s something they've always wanted to try. Share any insights you’ve observed about what they like or don’t like about their career experience. If they’re already working, and they like their job, ask if they’ve talked with their employer about staying with them, either full- or part-time.


If your client fears they've aged out of the workplace, share these facts: 

  • The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that by 2029 — just six years from now — 13 million people age 65 and older will still be working. These older workers will constitute the fastest-growing segment of the workforce from 2014 to 2024. While the total number of workers is expected to increase by 5 percent over those 10 years, the number of workers ages 65 to 74 will swell by 55 percent. For people 75 and older, the total will grow a whopping 86 percent, according to BLS projections.3
  • In 2019, roughly 25 percent of new entrepreneurs were between 55 and 64, up from 15% 20 years earlier, according to the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a nonprofit that promotes entrepreneurship.4


Advantages older workers have over younger workers

Employers are constantly challenged to find skilled workers. Older workers have much more experience than younger ones and may be better prospects for employers. Employers like to fill positions that require customer contact with retirees. The reason: Older workers tend to be more patient, attentive, and better customer service providers than younger employees. The graph below conveys that, as a group, older workers are projected to show a greater percent change in employment over other age groups.


Top Reason Aging Clients Keep Working2

Older workers Outpace Growth Rate of Other Age Groups5
Civilian labor force participation rates by age group 1999 – projected 2029

What resources are available to help?

  1. Job opportunities: Google "AARP 15 Growing Jobs for Older Workers"
  2. Online job postings: Sites featuring positions for aging workers retirementjobs.com, retiredbrains.com, workforce50.com, the AARP Job Board, and Work at Home Vintage Experts (WAHVE)
  3. Career coaching: The federally-financed One-Stop Career Centers typically provide free counseling. Many local colleges and community libraries also offer free workshops with career coaches.
  4. Selling talents: Clients can list their services on websites such as Upwork.com. It's free to join, but Upwork charges a service fee based upon a client's earnings.
    Clients can sell goods they make at Etsy.com. It's free to become an Etsy seller, but users should understand the transaction and processing fees on what they sell.
    At Fiverr.com, clients can find freelance work in over 200 categories. Fiverr charges 20% of earnings for the use of their platform.
  5. Apps that offer flexible employment:
    • DogVacay—Clients with personal or professional experience watching or walking dogs, can become pet sitters or dog walkers. They'll have the freedom to choose their schedule, services, and rates. 
    • HopSkipDrive—A ride service for kids was created by three moms who understood the struggle of getting kids around town safely. They also provide transportation to aging adults. Drivers can earn up to $32/hr., but need to have 5 years of caregiving experience, have a good driving record, and pass a background check.
    • Lyft & Uber—Clients can drive part-time. They can choose their hours, drive their own car, and make money.  
    • Envoy America—Take care of shopping and errands for nearby elders who need assistance
    • SilverRide—An assisted ride company that specializes in door-to-door service—also, often for doctor’s visits. They’re especially interested in hiring boomer drivers who have the interest and compassion to do this job and could use the extra income.
  6. Job test drive: Clients can volunteer or moonlight (work a second job outside normal business hours) in their new job before they make the leap from their current job.
  7. Network: Clients can get back in touch with their alumni and industry groups and see what kind of work is available. They can find people who are already doing the job they'd like to do and ask them how they prepared themselves.
  8. Career advice for older workers: Visit aarp.org/work
  9. Find a mentor: They can help clients with a specific goal—finding a job, planning a second career, asking for a raise, say, or suggesting ways to spiff up their image with the proper "dress for success" attire
  10. Create an elevator pitch: Making a great first impression is a must for job seekers. Google AARP's video, "Creating an Elevator Pitch"


To Summarize

First, working can help provide a sense of purpose in retirement, but clients should understand the impact working could have on their Social Security benefits. Second, aging workers are projected to have the fastest growth rate in the workplace. Third, there are plenty of online resources to help aging workers find work opportunities.


Retirement is Changing

For decades, retirement had a clear definition: Life after work. Today, however, retirement takes a more ambiguous form. Now retirement may mean employment remaining constant, scaling back to part-time, or even changing careers. Differentiate your practice by helping aging clients evaluate their options for work and connecting them with resources to help them choose.

Next Steps

1 Today, get the client whitepaper
2 Within two weeks, review the resources listed above and choose your top three.
3 Within one month, ask three clients nearing retirement whether they plan to keep working. If you sense that they need some help finding work, suggest a resource that can help.


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1How Work Affects Your Benefits, Social Security Administration, 2021

22021 RCS FACT SHEET #2 Expectations About Retirement, Employee Benefits Research Institute, 2021

3Who's Working More? People Age 65 and Older, AARP, 11/22/19

4As They Aged, They Started Businesses for People Like Them, The New York Times, 10/16/20

5Source: Civilian labor force participation rate by age, sex, race, and ethnicity, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 9/8/22

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