Seniors Taking Their Stance in the Continued Workforce Making Their Stance in the Continued Workforce

More seniors are joining the alternative workforce more than ever. Alternative work doesn’t mean ‘no’ work, it just means another approach to work, bringing in additional income, or supplementing an income stream they already have. Did you know that 3.5 million Americans aged 65 or older in 2019 alone, couldn’t afford the prescription medication they needed? This is only one of the reasons why so many seniors are working longer than they might have before or why many older adults are coming out of retirement.

 Social security and other retirement savings are quite limited and they simply aren’t enough anymore. When you consider inflation, a fluctuating economy, and new financial issues rising every day, it makes sense to find more ways to secure additional and supplemental income. Consider that 1 in every 6 retirees are thinking about rejoining the workforce and who can blame them? 

Let’s take a look at some of the most common drivers as to why this is happening, the results seniors are seeing, and even the benefits.

Is Retirement Becoming More a Myth Than Reality?

The stereotype of retirement as a time of relaxation and leisure is shifting rapidly, as more and more seniors choose to continue working well into their golden years. Embracing the continued workforce, older adults are finding fulfillment, security, and financial stability through freelance work and independent contracting. 

What’s interesting is that almost half of the older adult population simply aren’t financially prepared to retire and enjoy their retirement with no concerns about how to sustain their lives. This trend of continued work and finding additional income streams through alternative methods to the traditional 9-5 isn’t all bad though. The concept does offer some specific benefits for older adults. Keep in mind that not all seniors want to retire and some want to work part-time, full-time, or start a freelance business simply for the fun of it or to keep themselves busy or sharp. 

This concept is shaping a more secure future for older individuals in an uncertain and unstable economy, so it’s hard not to support that. Whether true retirement is becoming a myth or a thing of the past or not, older adults are trying to find ways to make it more of a reality again.

Seeking Fulfillment: Why Older Adults Choose to Work

senior citizen workingFor many seniors, retirement doesn’t necessarily mean stepping back from work entirely. A significant reason why older adults prefer to continue working is the sense of fulfillment and purpose that comes with staying active in the labor force. After dedicating decades to their careers in many cases, they have honed valuable skills and experience, which they still find gratifying to apply and share with others. 

Additionally, staying engaged in the workforce allows seniors to maintain social connections, fostering a sense of belonging that contributes to their overall well-being.

Work often provides a sense of identity and structure to one’s life or at least that’s the point where we’ve been conditioned. By continuing to contribute in a professional capacity, older adults can maintain a sense of self and independence, which may otherwise diminish in a fully retired lifestyle which is also one of the top reasons that seniors come out of retirement when it’s not only about finances.

Seniors Finding Security in Freelance Work

The traditional notion of job security has evolved. For older adults, the prospect of finding stable employment in their later years can be challenging due to ageism and the changing demands of the job market. However, the rise of freelance work and the gig economy has provided a lifeline for seniors seeking financial security without the constraints of a traditional 9-to-5 job or the fear of simply not being hired because of age.

Freelance work offers seniors the flexibility to choose projects and types of work that align with their interests and expertise. They can leverage their skills to provide consulting services based on work they did pre-retirement, creative work, or specialized advice or general assistance on a contract basis. This way, they can craft a work schedule that accommodates their lifestyle and commitments, without feeling overwhelmed by the pressures of a ‘full-time’ job. 

Keep in mind that freelance doesn’t always mean ‘online’. Seniors can work onsite and opt-in for more gig work where they could do things from providing help with gardening, managing a restaurant, coordinating events, and even assisting on temporary projects.

Some Seniors Simply Enjoy the Benefits of the Gig Economy

The gig economy and independent contracts offer various advantages tailor-made for older adults. It provides an opportunity for seniors to bridge their retirement savings gap. With the rising cost of living, many older adults face financial challenges during retirement or are even being priced out of the states they call home. By engaging in freelance work, they can supplement their income and build stronger finances.

Freelancing enables older adults to explore their passions and delve into new ventures so yes, it’s a great option for enhancing mental health and general health and wellness. Whether it’s starting a small business, providing online tutoring, or sharing their expertise in their field, the gig economy empowers them to pursue avenues they might have overlooked during their traditional careers. 

Not only is continuing to work a second chance at career growth but it’s also like having a temporary trial period considering that you aren’t obligated to stay with a company.

Additionally, freelance and independent contract work often enables seniors to work remotely, reducing the need for long commutes and the physical strain of commuting to an office. This remote flexibility is particularly appealing to older adults, as it allows them to create comfortable and conducive working environments while also staying technically literate or learning more about technology to even consider themselves as ‘tech savvy’.

Securing a Stable Future in an Unstable and Uncertain Economy

a senior working as a freelancerThe financial landscape in the U.S. has been marked by uncertainty in recent years, making retirement planning more challenging for older adults. Right now, most seniors can’t afford to retire and that’s a problem. The gig economy and independent contracting can act as a safety net during such economically turbulent times and so far, it has. 27% of seniors are freelancing and participating in gig-based work. Not to mention and refocus on the fact that half of the country’s senior population is actively considering coming out of retirement to pick up work again.

In an unpredictable job market, freelancing offers seniors a diversified income stream. By engaging in multiple projects and with clients, they can mitigate the risk associated with relying solely on a single employer or their limited retirement funds. This diversity also safeguards them against sudden job loss or the chance of a company downsizing, providing a much better sense of financial stability in uncertain times.

The autonomy that comes with freelancing allows seniors to work as long as they desire, without adhering to a rigid retirement age. This prolonged work life allows them to continue earning and contributing to their financial security, reinforcing their retirement savings and providing peace of mind all while continuously socializing themselves.

Older Adults Are Finding the Way and They Aren’t Hating It

The continued workforce is witnessing a significant shift, with seniors actively choosing to remain engaged with the workforce through freelance and independent contract capacities. Their motivation is driven by a desire for fulfillment, more social interaction, and better financial security that they aren’t getting from their well-deserved government and retirement funds. 

Embracing the gig economy, older adults can find the flexibility, autonomy, and stability that traditional employment often fails to provide in a continuously changing economic landscape. As this trend continues, seniors are not only securing their own futures but also becoming an essential pillar in shaping a more financially secure and stable society. 

The economy makes it difficult for just about anyone of any age to truly relax and older adults are rolling with the punches and finding the best ways for them to adapt now. It seems to be working and that’s all that matters.

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