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What is Unretirement?

What is Unretirement and Why is it a Sudden Trend?

Portrait of a senior couple on cycle ride at the park

Retirement seems like the significant end goal in life. You’ve worked hard for decades, you’ve raised your family, and now you want to have the chance to kick back and relax. It all makes perfect sense; it seems like the perfect reward for a job well done. But what happens if retirement isn’t all it is cracked up to be? A lot of recent retirees feel this way, and often they decide to unretire. The unretirement movement is actually a growing trend. 

What is unretirement?

Unretirement is simply the act of looking for work after you have officially retired from a particular career. The majority of people who decide to unretire are over the age of 65 and able to collect social security and any pension they may receive from a former employee. Instead of sitting back and basking in retirement, they re-enter the workforce. 

The number of unretirees has grown substantially over the last decade. In fact, an article from The New York Times suggests that more than a quarter of all people who retire later decide to return to the workforce. Roughly 40% of all people who were still working at age 65 had previously hung up their work belt. 

People are also working longer than ever before, too. About 20% of individuals over the age of 65 are gainfully employed. That percentage has risen about eight percent over the last 15 years. While most would assume that unretirement is a decision made out of necessity, it generally isn’t. 

Why do people unretire?

Unretirement might sound like a sad concept to you if you have been looking forward to the day you clock in for the last time. It might seem like most people would return to work because they had no other option, but the majority of people who decide to unretire don’t do so because they have a financial need. They do so because they genuinely want to be back in the workplace. 

Returning to the workforce, even part-time tends to give a retiree a sense of purpose and the ability to engage on a social level that is lost when retirement comes around. It also offers retirees the chance to explore new interests, check out new career paths, and utilize their brains in a new and different way. 

Studies have also shown that individuals who work longer tend to live longer, too. Social engagement is vital to one’s health, and working offers a social outlet for adults that is not easy to track down elsewhere. Keeping the mind active is also crucial to overall well-being. A new job is a great way to exercise the brain. 

Is unretirement right for me?

If you are considering unretirement, you are probably wondering if it really is the right choice for you. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question. Only you can decide if you want to step away from your retired life and rejoin the workforce. 

If you aren’t keen on the idea of full-time employment, experts suggest considering a part-time gig or a volunteer position. Both options offer more flexibility in your schedule but provide the social outlet that most people who are considering unretirement yearn for.

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