New research questions whether, in order to be happy, we should shelve the idea of traditional retirement. Activities with meaningful involvement and connections with other people are closely linked to life satisfaction after 60. Lost daily contact with co-workers and business contacts can be very disorienting.
1. Working Past Retirement Age Can Make People Happier
Brookings Institute found a “happiness premium” among older workers working full-time or voluntarily employed part-time. Those past retirement age, who were working full-time or voluntarily, part-time, were more satisfied with their health, as well as happier, than their retired counterparts.
2. Working is Valuable Because of Relationships
Forbes reports on a survey by The Sloan Center on Aging & Work at Boston College. “The 50+ workers surveyed said the most important element for a quality job wasn’t pay and benefits (that ranked third). It was “promotion of constructive relationships at the workplace,” which basically means receiving support from your supervisors and coworkers.”
3. Consider Moving to a Part Time Schedule at Your Current Position
If you would like a less rigorous schedule consider cutting back hours. A Brooking Institute paper reports “In an analysis of Europe and the U.S., based on Gallup World Poll data, we discovered that voluntary part-time workers were happier, experienced less stress and anger, and had higher job satisfaction than other employees.”
4. You May Need to Develop New Skills and Consider Other Types of Work
It’s still a challenge getting hired for many types of jobs when younger people are competing for the same position. You may need to choose a different type of work or to get certified with new or improved skills. Consider the growing access to college courses and on-line training. At-home work can be a possibility also, especially when you’re connecting remotely to others.
Know that you are not alone in this stage of life and that many people are involved in exploring ideas for this phase of life. Susan Braun Levine, the insightful writer and first editor of MS magazine, says that working after 50 is the new women’s movement.
5. Volunteer and Not-for-Profit Opportunities Can Be Very Satisfying
www.Encore.org has the mission of “Second Acts for the Greater Good.” They provide information and inspiration to help as they say “Start your journey and meet the people and organizations making encore a reality.”
Not-for-Profit organizations can offer a great feeling of satisfaction and often a salary.
6. Some Corporations Are Making Special Efforts to Hire Older People
Global Coalition on Aging reports that BMW surveyed workers and consulted physical therapists and ergonomics experts on how to accommodate older employees. Keeping them happy and on the job was a necessity in Germany because low birth rate created a shortage of younger workers. The changes were fairly simple – softer wooden floors, adjustable worktables and orthopedic shoes. Absenteeism at the plant plummeted and productivity soared.
Some corporations making an effort to hire older workers in the U.S. are Home Instead Senior Care and CVS drugstores.
7. Cities Can Offer Many Opportunities for People Over 60
There is a growing trend in U.S. cities towards attractive inner city living for people past retirement age. Cities can offer apartments with services, ease of transportation, more job and volunteer opportunities, shopping and cultural interests. They also offer a stimulating range of ages. Austin, Charleston, Baltimore, New York, Portland and most university towns are becoming vibrant magnets for people over 60.
8. Working Can Add Meaning to Life
Meaningful work is a key reason many professional men and women over 60 haven’t retired, according to surveys by Elizabeth Fideler for her books Men Still at Work and Women Still at Work.
“Both men and women said that making a difference was high up on their lists for job satisfaction,” according to Fideler.
Keep in mind……………
Remember that in 1935 when Social Security was established, the average life expectancy was 61. It’s now 79. Your generation is not just longer-lived, it’s also healthier and mover vibrant. If you’re a woman of 60, your expectancy is now at least 84 and growing. You can make the years after 60 happy with a feeling of purpose and connection.
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