Why Many Retirees Are Still Working

The word “retirement” literally refers to a period after the working years, when senior citizens of a certain age can live off a combination of Social Security Income and any retirement savings accounts they have. The idea of continuing to work during retirement might sound counterintuitive, yet more retirees than ever before are still working.


SSI Doesn’t Cover Everything

There is a widely held misconception that SSI checks will cover all or most of a person’s expenses in retirement, but this is far from the truth. SSI alone is not enough to sustain a comfortable, livable income, and many find that their monthly checks do not even cover all of their most basic living expenses. 

Supplemental Income

Retirees aren’t still working fulltime, but they are deciding to supplement their income with part-time work or self employment. This is allowed while collecting Social Security Income, although it is always a good idea to check current limitations before deciding to obtain a new income stream.

By working one or two days a week, or spending a few hours freelancing, retirees are able to add $100 to $200 per week to their household income. For retired couples, this might amount to $200 to $400. While it may not seem like much, this small amount of money can make a huge difference in the type of life retirees are able to live.

Working also has the added bonus of giving retirees a sense of purpose, allowing them to socialize with others regularly, and maintains a loose schedule each week. These additional benefits help to fight the depression and isolation common in the senior population.

Extending Retirement Savings

Having a supplemental income allows retirees to extend the life of their retirement savings accounts. With additional income coming into the household regularly, retirees do not have to pull as much money from their hard-earned nest eggs. 

If, for example, an additional $800 per month is necessary to uphold a retiree’s lifestyle in additional to monies received via SSI, then earning an additional $100 per week will decrease the necessary withdrawal amount by $400. If retirees work only the first five years of retirement, they have potentially allowed $24,000 to remain in their retirement savings. With people living longer than years past, this additional money is more useful than ever. 

There is a secondary benefit to allowing money to sit in a person’s retirement account, and that is a continued accumulation of interest. Considering the example above where a person only works for the first five years of retirement, the additional $24,000 left in savings will continue to grow at the interest rate set by a person’s bank. 


Many retirees are continuing to work part-time during their retirement, for at least the first few years. There are numerous benefits associated with doing so, most of which are financial. Besides being a financially sound decision, working can also help to decrease the risks of depression associated with boredom and isolation in the golden years.