Retirement Means the End of Work – Or Does It?

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Retirement Means the End of Work – Or Does It?

Age, Savings, Ability: studies show these are the three most influential factors that affect how individuals spend their traditional retirement years. For women in the 21st century, the combination of longer life spans, a choppy economy, and sustained desire to remain in the workforce means that retirement looks and feels markedly different than it used to for many older professionals.

According to Work in Retirement: Myths and Motivations, a 2014 Merrill Lynch study conducted in partnership with Age Wave, almost 50 percent of retirees expect to work or are currently working during what they view as their retirement years. And roughly 70 percent of non-retired people over age 50 – “pre-retirees” – are planning to work during their retirements.

What has influenced the trend to continue to work after retirement?

When asked, those at or nearing retirement age say they want to continue working to remain personally and professionally engaged and stimulated, to explore entrepreneurship opportunities and to ensure their ongoing financial security.

Women’s retirement needs differ

A more recent 2018 study by Merrill Lynch and Age Wave – Women and Financial Wellness: Beyond the Bottom Line – details the nuances of women’s retirements. Women continue to take more time from their work lives to address personal responsibilities such as family, and they retire slightly earlier than their male counterparts. Furthermore, while data show that women are now living longer and healthier than previous working generations, they wind up earning and investing less overall than their male counterparts by the time they reach traditional retirement age – which means the risk of outliving their finances is real.

Knowing that women’s retirement needs are distinct, we advise our clients to discuss what they envision for their retirements and begin to make financial plans for retirement while they are still working. Some questions to consider:

  • At what age do you hope to retire? Begin with your ideal age, but be prepared to adjust your expectations as you examine your financial readiness for retirement.


  • What is your current financial status as it relates to retirement? Consider your current debts, investments, earnings and other income sources such as pension and Social Security.


  • If you plan to continue to work in some capacity after retirement, what do you envision for your worklife? Assess what kind of work you’d like to do – as a part-time employee, an entrepreneur, an unpaid volunteer or steady earner – while considering the hours, effort, travel and benefits (financial earnings and otherwise) involved.


  • Will you take a break or look for post-retirement work immediately? Determine your projected financial preparedness and stability at the time of your retirement; knowing this can help you gauge how much time you can afford to take off to enjoy retirement and explore post-retirement work opportunities.


  • How will you manage your finances in retirement? Meet with an advisor to develop your post-retirement, long-term financial plans and to keep them up-to-date as your retirement continues.

Clearly, the “workscape” of the 21st century is changing how all individuals view work and approach retirement, and also now significantly influences individuals’ long-term financial and life plans. As a distinct group that is working and living longer, healthier, more professionally-engaged lives, women should be mindful to develop financial plans and post-retirement goals that will address their specific needs and talents, and provide them fiscal security for years to come. The Humphreys Group is committed to your vibrant financial success every step of your worklife journey. Contact our advisors to learn more about how we can help you make the most of your post-retirement life.