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Too set in your ways to quit?

By Jennie L. Phipps ·
Monday, April 28, 2014
Posted: 3 pm ET

Are you retired? Or are you still working? Or are you somewhere in between?

It seems to me that for some people, retirement is a lot like adolescence -- a time of great change and considerable confusion, especially when it comes to employment.

For our parents' generation, retirement was shorter and it seemed more clear-cut. You turned 65 and the boss gave you a watch and your pension and you went home. Today, it works that way less often. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2012, 31.5 percent of people age 65 to 69 were working and 17.3 percent of those 70 to 74 were still on the job. In 1990, 21.8 percent of people age 65 to 69 and 11.9 percent of people 70 to 74 were still employed.
Retirement-blog-Working-older-US-Census-Bureauretirement planning was lousy -- no pension and their Social Security isn't enough. Others stay on the job by choice. They just can't let go.

I have an acquaintance who started his own company many years ago and grew it into a major enterprise. His wife wants desperately to cruise around the world before they are too old to make such a trip, but he refuses to retire. People ask him frequently, "We know you don't need the money, so why don't you quit?" His standard answer: "I can't retire. I don't know how."

I have another friend who retired from an executive job about a year ago, played golf for a few months and is now deep into building his own publishing business. He doesn't expect it to make him a lot of money: "$25,000 or $30,000 a year -- that would make me very happy," he says.

He's 69 and his wife is 63, an attorney and still practicing. They both made lists of places they want to visit after she retires, and they've narrowed it to a few overlapping spots. But in the meantime, she's not ready to quit, and he's not ready for her to quit, either. "I would go nuts if she retired and was here all day," he says.

For now, he's working on his new business and feeling better about himself. "I'm inching toward being semi-relevant again," he says. "Pretty soon, I'm even going to make some money."

Ready to quit? Here are six signs that you can retire early.

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April 30, 2014 at 6:55 pm

I fortunately love my job and after 40 years on the same job I have no plans to ever retire. My job not only gives me a sense of purpose but a sense a greater purpose because my job involves helping people help the land. And believe it or not, I work for the federal government! We were all put here for a purpose I know this is my purpose and will do it as long as I can. Besides, I think retirement is way over rated and I firmly believe a job that keeps both your body and mind active will keep you thriving much longer than if you decide to stay in bed a little longer each day.

Pete R
April 30, 2014 at 6:52 pm

Interesting comments. Many of my piers are still working because they can't choose to retire yet. I retired over 4 years ago @ 59 and have no regrets or bored. I tell everyone I do not trade time for money anymore or have the need to feel inadequate or have some self worth issues because I do not work. I have surmised no matter how long you work and/or make more money you do not get anymore time at the end of your life. So my retirement income is very adequate for me to travel, live where I want and spend time with the people I care about. So retirement has been absolutely great for me. I may not be rich, but I am having a very rich life with good health, travel and friends. I enjoyed work, but enjoy retirement even better and only wish I could have done it even sooner.

April 30, 2014 at 3:36 pm

My husband retired at age 54 and I at 57....We lived a very
modest/affordable lifestyle...educated 2 children and continue
to live our lives to the fullest. I think we have lived thru
lean years and know how to enjoy a lifestyle we now cherish.
Life will end someday....prepare for the future when you are
young. Save.....then enjoy your reward. Todays college grads
need jobs....move aside when that little voice inside of you
says............"move on."

Susan Sallamack
April 30, 2014 at 2:53 pm

I "retired" from work to take care of my mother for several years. Now that Mom is in a high-care facility I can hand the less time-consuming responsibilities to my daughter and accompany my husband to China for a year's posting. We had other opportunities but never could take them before. When we return to the states, I have a long list of volunteer activities for both me and my husband, some of which are very aligned with our careers, some completely different. Yes, I believe in CHOICE.

April 30, 2014 at 12:29 pm

Don't underestimate the value of a job in retirement.

It not only provides for a sense of worth and social interaction, but the income can replace the lack of a sizable retirement nest egg.

At current CD rates of 1%, a $5,000 year income generates the same income as does a $500,000 nest egg.

It's your human capital.

Nola Ritter
April 30, 2014 at 12:14 pm

Who has money to retire these days? I think, most of us would retire, if just to something less time consuming.. .if financially able..

April 30, 2014 at 12:03 pm

I tried to retire last year. I'm financially able with or without SSI. My boss is laying a guilt trip on me to stay. Every day I regret my decision to stay one more year.

Tom Smith
April 30, 2014 at 11:50 am

I retired from a career position at age 65. I tried unsuccessfully to retire, but could not deal with the lack of social contact or get used to the lack of an earned paycheck. I began driving a van for a local school district, took the necessary steps to become CDL qualified, and now drive a school bus 20 hrs per week. The joys gained by being with K-5th grade, and middle school aged children is wonderful.....patience is a virtue, and is rewarded with great personal satisfaction and self worth.....the money in your pocket that is not necessary for day to day expense is also great and allows for great vacations, etc.

Bil Carter
April 30, 2014 at 11:10 am

I worked for thirty years as a health care consultant in the aging field. I retired at 58. Taught my pug all the tricks I knew in six months. Got bored. I talked with the principal of a local high school whose father had been my high school football about a position at his school and now ten years later I am directing research projects with 14-18 year-olds. It is great. Keeps me young and involved in life. I neither feel guilty nor do I resent those who chose to do next to noting with their lives. If you are a healthy, vital person who feels like they have something to offer, I say go for it. Yes, the money is fine, but I am making one-seventh of what I was, so it is not a real consideration.

Chrs Mason
April 30, 2014 at 10:59 am

Reading the comments gives me many ideas. looks like I should have retired earlier and started a vocation. Am in the Real Estate business and at 65 my position is being eliminated. Now I know what they mean by age discrimination in obtaining just an interview. Will probably collect SSI etc. and figure out what I want to do when I grow up !!