Why Working Retirees Have Stayed Employed

By Rachel Hartman, Next Avenue Contributor

A growing number of Americans age 65 and older are shunning traditional retirement and continuing to work, part-time or full-time. And 37% of employees say they expect to work past 70, according to a 2018 Willis Towers Watson survey.

While more employees are pushing back retirement age, their reasons for staying in the workforce vary. Here’s a look at five people who are working in their late 60s or beyond and their varying motivations:

David and Carol Porter: Recovering From a Financial Loss

In 2006, David and Carol Porter sold their mortgage business in Lansing, Mich. and moved to Scottsdale, Ariz. to begin early retirement. At the time, David had just turned 50, the age he wanted to be when he retired, and Carol was 55. They planned to live off their nest egg and travel. But when the stock market plunged in 2008, their plans fizzled, along with their retirement savings.

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“We lost half of our money,” David says. “If we were to live to be a hundred years old, we didn’t have enough to fund it.”

To recover their financial loss, the couple started a travel blog that grew into a business. Today, at 63 and 68, David and Carol operate Roaming Boomer Travel Services from their home and have two employees who work remotely. The setup has enabled them to continue their passion for traveling while pumping up their retirement savings.

While they’re not fully retired as planned, the couple’s endeavor has been more successful than either could have imagined. “We pinch ourselves every day,” David says.

Bill O’Shea: Taking In New Experiences

Tired of the politics intertwined in the companies where he previously worked, Bill O’Shea, a Cape Cod, Mass.-based CPA and financial management professional, decided to branch out on his own. Now 69, he’s a consultant for Patina Solutions, a management consulting firm.

“As a consultant, I do not have to get involved in politics,” he says. “I do my job, make recommendations to my clients and then it is up to them whether they follow my recommendations or not.”

Through his latest work, O’Shea has enjoyed being able to interact with clients in assorted cultures and environments, including Dubai. “I travel all over the world and get to meet very interesting people,” he says.

A flexible schedule allows him to set his own pace. “After I finish an assignment, I can usually take time off to recharge before beginning a new assignment,” says O’Shea.

Lynell Ross: Living for a Purpose

As a certified health and wellness coach in Auburn, Calif., Lynell Ross, 66, has spent close to 20 years helping clients improve their lives. She also founded and manages Zivadream, a website that provides advice from professionals in the areas of sleep, wellness, relationships and education.

Rather than retiring at 65, Ross decided to continue to operate and run the wellness-based businesses she worked hard to build up. She plans to keep growing the companies for the foreseeable future.

“I split my time between my two businesses,” she says. “It keeps me incredibly busy.”

In her coaching business, Ross has more than 50 clients and a full-time employee. Her new venture, Zivadream, has two part-time employees.

“I believe the businesses give me a purpose in life,” she says. “I have employees who rely on me, and it gives me something productive to occupy my time.”

What’s more, Ross says, staying employed is good for her health.

“Working this late in life keeps me both mentally and physically sharp, since every day I have to critically think through decisions,” she says.

Robert Morlot: Working to Stay Engaged

After a distinguished career as a management consultant, Robert Morlot stepped away from his corporate job in New York a few years ago. “I still had the energy and intellectual capacity to continue in my profession as a management consultant,” says Morlot, now 70. “I needed the challenge, and I considered my years of professional experience as an asset that could be leveraged.”

In 2016, he moved to Tampa, Fla. and created a company with two other seasoned partners: Clearwater Business Advisers. He’s managing partner there. “Starting a small firm with other senior workers has been more professionally rewarding than most of the time I spent in corporate life,” Morlot says.

The chance to remain engaged is one of the largest benefits, he notes.

“Being engaged in what you love to do keeps you current,” Morlot says. “I get to use my brain and learn new things, and work with other people who are very different.”

He finds that extremely satisfying.

“Age doesn’t matter,” he says. “I’m immersed in a group of people who get a chance to do what we enjoy.”

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