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Retired and Working: What Seniors are Doing to Supplement Retirement Income

Traditionally, retirees would move to Florida with a healthy retirement already planned and in place. This included the standard three-legged stool: Social Security, employer-sponsored retirement (pensions and 401K accounts), and individual savings. These three methods of accruing wealth and stability in old age offered seniors the ability to largely replace their income. Elder law attorneys have routinely advised seniors on how to make the most of their retirements and plan for the future. But changes in how retirees pay their bills means changes in how they plan for the future as well.

Florida has long provided the best opportunity for many retirees, because it has no state income tax, has wonderful year-round moderate weather, and it boasts a relatively low cost of living. However, as pensions disappear and stocks decline, many seniors find they must find nontraditional ways to supplement their retirement planning. Here are just a few ways seniors are working to supplement their retirement income.

Nearly 30 Percent Of Seniors Remain In The Workforce After Retirement

According to a report from the Pew Research Center, in just another seven years more than 30 percent of all seniors age 65 to 74 will be in the workforce. This means more and more seniors are either opting to or having to work well into their later years just to pay the bills. Compare this with just over a decade earlier where the number was only 20 percent in 2002. Some are working part-time and enjoying a healthy work-life balance that keeps them youthful and vibrant during retirement. Others, however, remain saddled to long careers and confined to low-income long hours, especially where pensions have been entirely eliminated or where savings have been lost or depleted due to the poor market performance of just a few years ago or rising medical costs.

School Districts Love Retirees As Substitute Teachers

A lot of retirees are turning to work in the school system. Retired teachers find substituting a sensible and easy transition that uses their skills and years of experience. Likewise, for those who have spent decades in industry, substituting gives them an opportunity to stay connected and share their wisdom with the next generation of America’s youth.

Unfortunately, the pay is meager to say the least, with many Florida school districts paying roughly $8.00 to $12.00 per hour. Further, the work is not always steady; there can be heavy times where you will work every day for weeks, then slow periods where you may not find an assignment for several weeks. The more willing you are to work in different schools and grade levels, the more hours you will get.

Retirees Fit Well In Seasonal And Limited-hour Positions

Substitute teaching is not the only choice for retirees in the school system. Many retirees are choosing to look for employment as school crossing guards, bus drivers, and food service workers. These positions are often part-time and only require work between short hours, such as bus drivers who may work 2-3 hours early in the morning and 2-3 hours in the afternoon. Similarly, some seniors may choose to work as early morning newspaper deliverers. These positions can offer an additional $12,000 to $15,000 income each year by only working 3-5 hours per day.

Retail Hours Are Desirable For Seniors

While it offers little prestige or glamour and may be quite a humbling experience for those who formerly held positions of great responsibility, retail work does have one perk – the flexible hours and generous time off. Many seniors now opt for working in malls and large retailers like Wal-mart and Target, because these employers offer a great chance to work a few hours here and there and easily take time off or change shifts.

Whatever type of work retirees choose, they should be careful about the amount of income and how they earn it, as it can have a huge effect on social security income and tax implications, depending on pension and 401(k) income. Therefore, before deciding to go back into the workforce, Florida seniors should consult a local elder law attorney at the Millhorn Elder Law Planning Group about how the added income could affect their retirement.

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