The Value of Working Beyond Retirement Age

To work or not to work – that is the question, and when you reach 80, it is a very good question indeed. Having reached the point, sound of body and mind, you first should be grateful for having gotten this far.

Many don’t. Assuming you have a limited but really unknown number of years left, what to do with them? So many factors come into this decision. To name a few – family concerns, health and welfare, financial needs, unrealized ambitions, and goals, competing interests like travel, golf, fishing, the arts, etc. have to be considered. We are all different in this respect, but the ultimate decision to continue working or not depends on the answers to these questions.

Assuming you have had a successful career in business, your chosen profession, the arts, etc., you probably have at least some desire to keep going just for the satisfaction of continuing something good.

In my case, the attraction was strong and I didn’t quite give retirement a second thought. At 65 I decided to keep going. At 75, I seemed to be hitting my second stride and I haven’t slowed down since. At 80 I reached a personal best with the highest sales commissions and earnings in my business career.

Along the way some pleasant surprises, in some cases the business actually got easier working with customers here and abroad that I’ve called on over 25 years.

Sometimes it’s now their sons and daughters and in a few cases, grandsons. If you have served a family or company fairly and faithfully for many years, you have a unique position that adds to the satisfaction of every visit. That’s not to say I haven’t made some adjustments over time. I take more vacations, not longer ones, just more of them.

At my age, if you’re gone too long, people jump to conclusions – has Bob retired? Is he dead? Is he lost in the Rocky Mountains? I just take a week or 10 days at least quarterly. That way there is no break in continuity and with an iPhone, it is that much easier to stay on top of your business. I have been to exotic out of the way destinations and can easily keep up my contacts with modern technology.

Sure there will be changes in the work load. But I just keep forging ahead. I may be getting too old to be climbing mountains, but I still enjoy the satisfaction of a good day’s work and the rewards that go with it. It works for me, and it could work for you too.