Yahoo News is publishing first-person perspectives from Americans 65 or older who have returned to the workforce after retiring or who have picked up a second job to bolster their income. These personal stories come on the heels of an Associated Press poll that says 82 percent of workers 50 and older say it’s at least somewhat likely they will work during their retirement years. Forty-seven percent, meanwhile, said they’ll retire later than planned. Here’s one account.
FIRST PERSON | When people ask me why I have a job at my age, I tell them retiring is easy. I retired over fifteen years ago; but so far I have failed to quit working. This is my little joke and it is the truth. Last year I turned 65. That birthday is a reality check for everyone. Many questions were and are in my mind. Where did all of those years go? What have I been doing? What should a person of my age be doing? How much longer have I got? Any senior citizen cannot help reflecting on all of these issues.
It did hit me that I have been employed for fifty-some years. Much of my working life has been spent as a head chef. That is still one of my current jobs. In addition, I have owned or managed a variety of businesses. My education and operation all of these endeavors has given me a strong background in business accounting and management. Consequently, my other current job is as an accountant for two seasonal businesses.
Where I work is in Montana near Glacier National Park. My jobs are seasonal. So I only work six months of the year. I do feel a little guilty about working so little because I am a true work-a-holic; but, at the same time, I know I am fortunate to still be able to work. I assumed that at about age sixty a switch would be flipped somewhere in the cosmos and my job skills would no longer be relevant or needed. That is not the way it has happened in my case. I still get asked to work every year by several different businesses.
This summer I had planned to stay home, ride my horses, plant some flowers, and just have fun living. Instead, I agreed to work two weeks which has turned into working six days a week for the last five months. The money I earn is very helpful. It helps me pay property taxes, buy hay for my horses, and fund my IRA for example.
The amount of money I earn per hour is mind-blowing. People in my age group remember $1.50 an hour as minimum wage. Now I make close to $15.00 an hour as a cook. I might make more in another location, but here that is considered a high hourly wage. As an accountant the pay scale is totally different. I get paid for the number of pay checks I create and I get paid separately for quarterly reports and W2s, etc.
Today I am a little tired and I feel like I should not work another season and so my mindset is leaning toward retirement, again. Still working at my age is good for my bank account, and it is also good for my ego. I love working with a variety of people in their twenties. This is a wonderful age group. They make me feel good about the future of our world.