Retirement used to mean dropping out of the workforce entirely to pursue leisure or rest. But that’s not necessarily the case anymore. The current generation of retirees is redefining what it means to be retired.

Sometimes called a second career, working in retirement might allow you to delay tapping into your retirement savings. Working after 59.5 could also affect your Social Security and tax rate, so there are rules you need to know, and it’s not a decision to be made lightly.

Whether you want to simply earn extra money or if you just enjoy working, here are six things to consider when deciding whether or not working in retirement is right for you.

  1. Your Social Security could change

    You can work and collect Social Security, but you need to know the details. If you’ve claimed Social Security benefits early, but wish to continue working, you’ll be subject to an annual earnings test that will reduce the amount you receive from Social Security.

    According to, in 2017, if you earned more than $16,920, you’d lose $1 in Social Security benefits for every $2 in earnings above the limit. However, once you reach full retirement age, there’s no penalty for working while receiving Social Security payments. Ultimately, there’s no limit to how much you can earn if you are retired, but you have to account for how your earnings affect your social security payments — which depends on your age.

  2. Now could be the time to start a business

    According to, people older than 50 represent one of the fastest-growing groups of entrepreneurs in the United States. Often, retirement is now seen as a chance to try something new and even pursue career dreams you weren’t able to explore before. This also gives you a chance to work on your own terms, and perhaps use that work to make a difference in the world. With decades of experience, connections and financial stability, entrepreneurs have many advantages on their side for starting a new business.

  3. Working in retirement might not always be financially worth it

    In addition to possible Social Security penalties for working during retirement, going back to work during retirement doesn’t always mean you’ll benefit financially. Take a hard look at how much money it will take to dress for the office, commute to work and any other expenses you’ll be on the hook for.

  4. Consider part-time employment

    You spent decades working a full-time job to the best of your ability, do you want to spend your years of leisure working the 40-hour work week grind? By working part-time, you might achieve a good balance with a steady stream of income and a manageable schedule.

  5. Employed retirees must still enroll in Medicare

    Medicare eligibility begins at 65, regardless of your employment status. Delaying enrollment because of access to a group health plan is fine, but once you stop working you must enroll in Medicare to avoid a penalty.

  6. It’s not for everyone

    You’ve spent years planning for retirement. Maybe the itch to rejoin the workforce isn’t there, but you’ve got a case of cabin fever. If that’s the case, consider other ways to get out of the house like volunteering and finding hobbies that keep you intrigued.

Start Planning Now

Whether you’re already enjoying retirement or its 20 years from now, it’s never too late to learn more about how you can maximize your retirement. Connect with your local Farm Bureau agent to learn how you can take charge of your retirement strategy.