Bernie Rabik: Know when to retire – carpe diem!

·2 min read
Bernie Rabik
Bernie Rabik

What age is too old to keep working? These days it’s hardly unusual to hear older workers say they plan to work well into their retirement years.

For example, more than half of (53%) workers report that they expect to work beyond age 65, according to a recent survey by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies. And roughly one in eight (13%) say they don’t plan to retire at all.

But how long can workers realistically expect to stay on the job? The Transamerica Survey provides some interesting insights into this question.

When asked what age might be considered “too old to work,” more than half said it depended on the person and didn’t identify a specific age. Of those who provided an age, the median was 70 – five years younger than being considered too old to work!

Putting these two statistics together, it seems to be OK for a person who’s deemed to be “old” to continue working, at least for about five years.

When asked how long they expect to live, median survey response was to age 90. This means if someone worked until age 75, they would expect retirement to last about 15 years, nearly double the eight-year average period of retirement for retirees in the 1950s.

Recent research supports the notion that older people can work beyond traditional retirement ages. For example, one recent survey showed that more than three-fourths (77%) of people ages 75 to 79 report no health-based limitation in their ability to work or complete housework. Another study provides statistical evidence that the notion of “old” has been getting older over many decades as people are, on average, living longer, healthier lives.

The longevity revolution raises many issues we’ll all need to navigate and adjust to as individuals, employers and society. But it’s a good challenge to have, considering the alternative of living shorter lives.

However, the last word belongs to Serena Williams, the 23-time Grand Slam champion who has been the face of tennis since winning her first U.S. Open in 1999, who said in a recent magazine article that she planned to retire from the sport after playing once more in the tournament which begins later this month.

Williams said that she has “never liked the words retirement,” and preferred the word “evolution” to describe her next steps. “I’m evolving away from tennis, toward other things that are important to me.” “The countdown has begun.” “I’m going to relish these next few weeks."

Finally, know when to retire – carpe diem. Let “evolution” describe your next steps in the things you like.

Bernard Rabik, a Hopewell Township attorney, is a columnist for The Times.

This article originally appeared on Beaver County Times: Rabik: Know when to retire – carpe diem!