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Why some retirees keep working | Bankrate

1 October 2013—Jacquelyn James, co-director of research at the Sloan Center on Aging & Work at Boston College is quoted by bankrate

Reasons why people keep working


Many people consider retirement an extended vacation, "but vacations are only fun because we have work to return to," says Jacquelyn James, co-director of research at The Sloan Center on Aging & Work at Boston College. "With retirement, there's nothing to go back to."

For many people who keep working, work centers their life. It offers "structure for the day, a social network and feeling needed," James says. "Retirees need to replace those motivators with a blend of part-time work, volunteer activities or civic engagement and leisure activities."

Making the transition

James recommends people test retirement before plunging full-time into it. Many companies have introduced phased-in retirement options, where staff cuts back to work three days a week, followed by two days. Before retiring, "Pay attention to what gives you the most pleasure," she says. "Add variety in your activities because what you do every day can turn into drudgery, even in retirement."

People who wrap their identities in work often face the most problems letting go of it, James adds. Academics may retire but stay active by researching and writing in their field. When people retire and stop working, they must make psychological adjustments. A roofer who collaborated on a crew for 20 years and anticipated seeing his fellow co-workers every day must replace those social connections or suffer isolation.

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