Are you planning to work after retirement? You’re not alone


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What it means to be retired in America may look differently than we imagine, as more than 6 in 10 Americans think they’ll keep working after retirement, according to the latest MagnifyMoney survey.

The financial impact of the COVID-19 crisis may lead to more unemployment, households borrowing money from their retirement savings to cover expenses and Americans rethinking how they can retire comfortably.

MagnifyMoney surveyed more than 2,000 Americans — nearly 1,700 of which haven’t already retired — to learn how people are envisioning retirement. This, in many cases, still involves working to some extent.

Key findings

  • 64% of Americans think they’ll keep working after retirement. That figure jumps to 72% for men, versus 56% for women.
  • Nearly 1 in 10 Americans (7%) don’t think they’ll ever stop working, especially those who make less than $25,000 a year (13%).
  • Of those who’ve already retired — 332 respondents — 13% have continued to work in some form. An additional 20% are considering it.
  • 57% of Americans who think they’ll keep working after retirement said they’d do so because they’d need the money. Separately, 44% said they’d get bored otherwise.
  • Those who think they may continue working after retirement would be most likely to pursue part-time work in a service field such as grocery or retail (33%), followed by part-time work in their current field, such as consulting or freelancing (24%).

More than 6 in 10 think they’ll keep working after retirement

While it seems like a bit of an oxymoron to be retired and still working, those who will continue to work after retirement will likely have a vastly different work life than they did pre-retirement.


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They may choose to work part time in a service field such as retail or in their former industry as a consultant or freelancer. Some may choose to monetize a hobby, such as teaching yoga, or start their own business.

There wasn’t a huge generational divide when it came to planning to work less during retirement. Generation Z (47%) was the only group that was far less likely to believe they’ll keep working after retirement, compared with:

  • 67% of millennials
  • 65% of Gen Xers
  • 69% of baby boomers

Sarah Berger, MagnifyMoney’s millennial finance columnist, said one potential reason that Gen Zers might not feel like they’ll have to keep working after retirement could have to do with their level of financial literacy.

“Younger generations have less experience managing their finances, and older generations likely have a more realistic picture as to how much money they will actually need to retire, and the amount of money that they will need to live comfortably within retirement,” Berger said.

Household incomes appeared to have a stronger impact on retirement plans than age. Respondents within the highest income category — $100,000 or more — were most likely to plan to work after they retire (80%).

While it’s difficult to say why this may be, it could be because high-income earners are accustomed to maintaining a more expensive lifestyle. Or, their career paths can lead to more appealing options for working post-retirement, such as part-time consulting within their industry.

Are your retirement savings safe?

Two-thirds of workers across three generations – millennialsGeneration X and baby boomers – are confident they’ll be able to retire with a comfortable lifestyle, according to “What is ‘Retirement?’ Three Generations Prepare for Old Age,” a 2019 survey of workers published by Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, a nonprofit foundation based in Los Angeles.

You may think you’ve got retirement covered with savings in retirement and other accounts. However, whether you’re nearing retirement age or already enjoying retirement, unexpected expenses due to aging, along with shifting economic and cultural factors, can derail, or at least curtail, your financial plans for retirement.

Continue on to learn 6 surprise costs that can strike a disabling blow to retirement savings.

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Even if you’re healthy now, someone turning 65 today has nearly a 70% chance of needing long-term care services or supports in their lifetime, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Around 20% will need long-term care support for longer than five years.

How long would it take for national annual median costs (according to the 2019 Genworth Cost of Care Survey) for a home health aide ($52,624), assisted living facility ($48,612) or a private room in a nursing home ($102,200) to wipe out your retirement savings, especially if your spouse also needs long-term care? 

In most cases, Medicare won’t cover those costs for more than a few months. Medicaid may pay for long-term care but usually only if your income or total assets are below state eligibility requirements. If you carry long-term care insurance, retirement savings are more likely to be spared.

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For those looking to retire before age 65 and Medicare eligibility, monthly health insurance premiums could be one of your biggest expenses. The average monthly cost for an Affordable Care Act “silver” policy for someone 60 to 64 years old is between $1,016 and $1,123 per month, according to ValuePenguin. 

Approximately 14% of those surveyed in the University of Michigan’s 2019 National Poll on Health Aging survey said they kept a job specifically to have health insurance through an employer. Around 11% delayed or considered delaying retirement to have health insurance through their job.

Unless you have an employer retirement package that includes health insurance, plan on paying high health insurance premiums until you’re eligible for Medicare. You may find that toughing it out for a few more years at your job is worth the savings.

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An aging parent or spouse who needs care or more attention can increase your expenses, possibly for several years. Expenses can include travel costs, helping with caregiver wages, paying for home modifications to accommodate mobility issues, and time away from work if you’re not yet retired.

More than half of family caregivers must take time off from their job, reduce work hours or quit their jobs to accommodate caregiving responsibilities, according to the AARP report Family Caregiving and Out-of-Pocket. 

Of those surveyed, around 3 in 10 dipped into personal savings, 1 in 6 reduced the amount set aside for retirement, and more than 1 in 10 withdrew from retirement savings, according to the report.

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When the stock market crashed in 2008, U.S. retirement accounts lost around $2.7 trillion, 31% of their peak value, in the first quarter of 2009, according to the Urban Institute. 

The combined peak loss from plummeting stock and home values cost the average U.S. household nearly $100,000, according to The Pew Charitable Trusts. The decline in stock values alone cost around $66,000 on average per U.S. household, according to that organization’s findings.

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Years after adult children leave their parents’ home to pursue a career, find love or just get away from Mom and Dad, some return, decades later, jobless, divorced and/or deeply in debt.

A life events survey by Fidelity Investments found that 1 in 9 baby boomer parents surveyed said their “boomerang” kids moved back home in the past year. Around 76% of those parents said they faced higher expenses because of the familial tenant.

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Many millennials live with their parents well beyond high school and college, delaying moving out for years, if they ever move at all. Roughly 1 in 3 adults aged 21 to 37 don’t gain financial independence from their parents until they’re 25 or older, according to a survey by Country Financial Security Index. 

More than one-third of millennials still live with their parents, the survey found. According to the survey, other expenses parents may foot for grown millennial children include cell phone (41%), groceries and gas (32%), rent (40%) and health insurance (32%).

This article originally appeared on and was syndicated by

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7% of Americans don’t think they’ll ever stop working

While 7% of American don’t think they’ll ever stop working, a more promising 25% of Americans do think they’ll be able to retire between 60 and 65. Meanwhile, 17% of Americans expect to retire between 66 and 69.

There appears to be a gender divide when it comes to planning when to stop working. While 23% of women think they’ll retire between 66 and 69, only 11% of men said the same. More men think they’ll retire between 60 and 65.

Respondents that have a household income of $100,000 or more were the most likely group (29%) to expect to retire between 60 and 65.

2 in 3 retired Americans aren’t considering a return to work

Even though someone is retired and not working, that doesn’t mean there may not come a day when they feel the need to return to work for either financial or personal reasons.

Even though 67% of retired Americans aren’t considering a return to work, it’s still impactful that 33% of retired individuals are either continuing to work during retirement or are thinking about beginning working again.

More men than women are either working during retirement or are considering returning to work post-retirement in some manner. In fact, 15% of men are working during retirement, compared with 12% of women. And 23% of men are considering continuing to work in some form, versus 18% of women.

It’s worth repeating that this portion of the survey is based on the responses of 332 Americans who identified as retired.

From needing money to being bored, reasons for working vary

While 57% of Americans who think they’ll keep working after retirement reported this will likely be because they need to earn more income, 44% of respondents named curing boredom as their motivation.

Other respondents listed other reasons for planning to work during retirement, such as:

  • Needing a transition between full-time work and not working at all
  • Truly loving their careers and wanting to continue working to a lesser extent
  • Wanting to experience working in a new industry

Older Americans who plan to keep working after retirement mainly said they’d do so because they’d need the money:

  • 62% of baby boomers
  • 62% of Gen Xers
  • 56% of millennials
  • 36% of Gen Zers

Meanwhile, Gen Zers predominately said they’d be bored otherwise (59%).

While more than 1 in 2 of those who make $100,000 a year or more said they’d do so because they need the money, nearly 1 in 5 said they truly love their career and want to continue.

By contrast, 71% of those who make less than $25,000 and plan to keep working would do so for the money, while just 6% said they’d do so because they love their career.

More than 1 in 2 cite family as reason why they wouldn’t continue working

Alongside uncovering why people want or need to keep working during retirement, MagnifyMoney also investigated why some wouldn’t want to continue working during that stage of their life.

The main motivation to stop working? Family. In fact, 51% of respondents reported wanting to have more time to relax and spend with family as a motivation for retiring fully.

More than 2 in 10 (21%) respondents believe they’ll have enough money saved to replace any lost income and won’t need to work past retirement. In particular, 31% of men reported feeling financially confident enough to retire fully, compared with 14% of women.

How downsizing can stretch your retirement income

Whether you’re thinking of downsizing to a smaller house or a condo, taking the life-changing step of selling your current house to buy a more affordable home in retirement can be a smart move. 

For one thing, if you cut monthly and annual expenses substantially by living in a smaller residence, your retirement income can stretch further. And if you don’t have as much saved for retirement as you planned, downsizing could help you still retire on track or even prevent you from having to punch the clock at a part-time job long after you’ve waved goodbye to a full-time career. Curious about all the ways downsizing can free up more money in retirement?

Here are 6 ways downsizing to a new home can make retirement income last longer.

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Depending on how much equity you have in the house you sell, you may be able to put down a sizable down payment when you purchase a smaller home. In fact, if you’ve already paid your house off, you may even be able to purchase the new home outright, eliminating a mortgage altogether and freeing up hundreds or even thousands of dollars a month.

Related: How 34 Financial Experts Suggest Preparing Finances for Retirement


Since you’re taxed on the value of your home, buying a smaller, less expensive house or condo can lower property taxes considerably.

However, since property tax rates vary greatly by city, municipality and state, unwittingly buying a less expensive home in another city that has notoriously higher property taxes could still mean a high property tax bill at tax time.

Depending on square footage and other factors, you may free up even more money you’d have otherwise spent on property taxes if you buy a retirement condo. 

“Because of a number of factors, including square footage and number of bedrooms, you can typically expect to pay lower property taxes on townhouses and condos than on single-family homes,” according to

Related: 4 Reasons Americans Fear They’ll Never Retire

Generally, large houses are known for running up big utility bills. While how you live plays a huge part in how much electricity and heat you use, if a house is well-insulated and has efficient appliances, you’ll probably pay much less in utility costs on a 1,500-square-foot-home versus what you’d fork over with a 4,000-square-foot-home.

Related: 6 Eleventh-Hour Strategies for Baby Boomers Facing America’s Retirement Crisis

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If you live in a 5,000-square-foot-home, you’ll probably pay higher homeowner’s insurance premiums than if you live in a 2,500-square-foot-home, according to insurance resource Policygenius. That’s because the larger and more expensive the home, the more it costs to rebuild.

However, factors such as location and age of the home determine the premium as well, so do your research on what your homeowner’s insurance will be before closing on your new downsized home.

Find out: 6 Surprise Costs that can Drain Retirement Savings

Downsizing to a smaller home will free up a good chunk of money on maintenance savings alone. That means your retirement income will stretch a little further each month and every few years when a big maintenance project comes due.

For example, you’ll pay thousands of dollars less for someone to paint your modest ranch home or bungalow than you’d pay for them to paint a two-story house or sprawling home. Smaller homes have smaller yards, so you’ll pay less for lawn care and landscaping, too.

Related: 7 Ways to Reduce Debt to Have More Money for Retirement 

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If you downsize to a smaller home, you probably won’t need to spend as much to replace appliances like the furnace or air conditioner, since you have less space to heat or cool. Those two appliances or an entire HVAC system can really set you back, especially if you have to make monthly payments that cut into retirement income.

The national average cost for a standard efficiency natural gas furnace ranges from $2,150 to $5,900, with most homeowners paying around $3,100, according to HomeGuide, a professional directory and consumer home repair resource.

A new air conditioner unit costs between $3,350 and $5,912, with homeowners spending around $4,631 on average, according to the same source. Replacing an entire HVAC system with new ductwork, a new central air conditioner and a new gas furnace ranges from $6,820 to $12,350 on average, says HomeGuide.

This article originally appeared on and was syndicated by

Working after retirement: What to do?

When it comes to working post-retirement, what that work looks like can vary greatly.

Those who think they may continue working after retirement would be most likely to pursue part-time work in a service field such as grocery or retail (33%), followed by:

  • Part-time work in their current field, such as consulting or freelancing (24%)
  • Monetizing a hobby, such as teaching yoga or selling art (17%)
  • Starting a business (12%)

Of the Gen Zers who think they’ll keep working after retirement, 20% would do so by starting their own business, which they reported more than any other generation. Meanwhile, 16% of millennials agreed, but only 8% of Gen Xers and 5% of baby boomers felt the same way.

Gen Zers were also most likely to say they’d monetize a hobby (28%), versus:

  • 17% of millennials
  • 17% of Gen Xers
  • 12% of baby boomers

Saving for retirement so you shouldn’t need to continue working

For those who want to retire fully, there are steps they can take that can help them prepare for a comfortable retirement and ensure they don’t need to work during that stage of their life. Here are a few best practices for preparing for a happy retirement, via Berger.

  • Max out your 401(k). Maxing out your 401(k) is a powerful tool at your disposal. At the very least, you should contribute enough to take full advantage of any company match that is offered. If maxing out your 401(k) doesn’t feel feasible right now — and that’s OK during a pandemic — consider dialing up your contributions by one percentage point on a regular schedule, such as every six months or once a year, to ease into it.
  • Save extra for retirement outside of a 401(k). Saving for retirement with both a 401(k) and a Roth IRA is a smart retirement plan, as they provide different tax advantages. This essentially gives you the best of both worlds.
  • Work with a financial advisor. Working with a financial advisor can be beneficial if you’re worried that you’re not on track to hit your retirement goals and need help developing a robust plan. Whether you’re looking for a financial advisor in Dallas or New York, MagnifyMoney can assist.
  • Budget for retirement savings. “Factoring in saving for retirement into your monthly budget is a good idea, as it will give you a clearer picture as to the amount of money you actually have to spend during the month,” Berger said. “It can also help you keep your retirement goals top of mind.”


MagnifyMoney commissioned Qualtrics to conduct an online survey of 2,021 Americans, with the sample base proportioned to represent the overall population. Of the total sample size, 1,689 respondents identified as not retired and 332 identified as retired. The survey was fielded Oct. 9-13, 2020.

Generations are defined as the following ages:

  • Gen Z: 18 to 23
  • Millennial: 24 to 39
  • Gen X: 40 to 54
  • Baby boomer: 55 to 74
  • Silent generation: 75 and older

This article originally appeared on and was syndicated by

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