More retirees want to return to work: survey

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After working 30 years as a police officer, John Graham decided to retire in 2002. But, he wasn’t done serving the community and decided to make one of his passions a profitable one, sort of.

With his law enforcement days behind him, Graham entered the nonprofit sector, serving on the board of a pension education organization and an arts foundation in Park Ridge. After that, he took time off to travel before purchasingthe Shanti Yoga Studio in Edison Park.

The studio’s former owner was going to move out of state and wanted to close the facility. Graham, an avid yogi, stepped up to purchase the facility in 2015 and run it full-time.

Shanti isn’t very profitable, Graham said, adding with a chuckle that his accountant refers to the enterprise as a “hobby.” Though the business is not a big money maker, Graham said his focus is on supporting the yoga instructors who teach at the studio.

Graham isn’t alone in his desire to return to work. About 39 percent of currently employed workers age 65 or older had previously retired at some point, according to a 2017 RAND Corporation analysis of American Working Conditions Survey data. More than half of survey participants, age 50 and older, who weren’t working and not looking for a job said they would consider re-entering the workforce if the conditions were right.

But why? According to a new survey from Home Instead, Inc., an Omaha-based senior care company, money was the most important factor for returning to work, followed by fighting boredom and keeping their minds sharp. But when retirees should exit and re-enter the workforce, and what jobs should take on upon their return, depends on their health, skill set and overall goals.

These days, non-retired Americans say they plan to retire at age 66, up from age 60 in the 1990s, according to a May 2018 Gallup poll report. Research suggests workers are delaying retirement, because their work is meaningful to them, according to a RAND. More than two-thirds of older workers reported that they felt they were doing useful work and they are satisfied over work well. Two-thirds of prime-age women and 54 percent of prime-age men felt the same way.

“People get a lot of pleasure and a lot of emotional connection by going into work, going into an office, and having social interaction,” said Karen Stephenson, owner of the Home Instead Senior Care. “People want to continue expanding their mind.”

Graham echoed Stephenson’s sentiments.

“You have to keep busy. You have to keep active. You have to keep your brain crankin’,” he said.

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