The Great Recession has many older Americans considering the prospects of staying in the workforce past their normal retirement age. However, working past your normal retirement age is not a new necessity.
According to the Social Security Administration, nearly 31% of individuals between the ages of 70 and 74 reported income from earnings in 2008, the latest year data are available. Among a younger age group, those between 65 and 69, approximately 48% had income from a job.
Some remain employed for personal reasons, such as a desire for stimulation and social contact; others still want and need a regular paycheck. Whatever the reason, the decision to continue working into your senior may permit you to continue adding to your retirement savings and delay making withdrawals.
For example, if you earn enough to forgo Social Security benefits until after your full retirement age, your eventual benefit will increase by between 5.5% and 8% per year for each year that you wait, depending on the year of your birth. You can determine your full retirement age at the Social Security Web site (www.ssa.gov) or by calling the Social Security Administration at 800-772-1213.
Adding to Your Nest Egg
Depending on the circumstances of your career, working could also enable you to continue adding to your retirement nest egg. If you have access to an employer-sponsored retirement plan, you may be able to contribute and continue building retirement assets.
If not, consider whether you can fund an IRA. Just remember after age 70 1/2, you will be required to make withdrawals, known as required minimum distributions (RMDs), from traditional 401(k)s and traditional IRAs. However, RMDs are not required from Roth IRAs and Roth 401(k)s.
Even if you do not have access to a retirement account, continuing to earn income may help you to delay tapping your personal assets for living expenses, which could help your portfolio last longer in the years to come.
Whatever your decision, be sure to apply for Medicare at age 65. In certain circumstances, medical insurance might cost more if you delay your application.
Work does not have to be a chore. You may find opportunities to work part-time, on a seasonal basis, or capitalize on a personal interest that you did not have time to pursue earlier in life.
Source: Income of the Population 55 or Older, 2008, Social Security Administration (most current data available).
Ruth Cameron, founder of New World Wealth Concepts- Financial Blog, has over 22 years’ experience in Corporate America; managing technical projects; designing processes; and developing and implementing business strategies.
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