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Mailman at 72 With America’s Longest Route | Bloomberg

written by: Tom Moroney

Perpetual Employment

Retirement is rarely the discrete here’s-your-gold-watch event it once was. With pensions ever more scarce, millions face perpetual employment.

“It’s becoming the norm,” says Kevin Cahill, research economist at Boston College’s Sloan Center on Aging and Work.

Older Americans’ reasons for staying in the workforce cover the spectrum in the post-recession economy. Some need the money to live day-to-day, some want to build up battered 401(k) plans or put more away for their kids, some find that the daily activity organizes their lives in ways they can’t on their own, keeping them connected and useful.

For Bull, who has a pension and Social Security and a $62,000 annual salary, it’s mostly about family. With what his wife, Susan, a second-grade teacher, makes, they earn six figures. He says his working helps them maintain a comfortable lifestyle, and allows him to save to leave something substantial for Susan, who’s 17 years his junior, and for his grandchildren.