Alliance America Logo Contact About Us Articles Home
Retired woman in pink and whit polkadot bathing suit flexing her arms

Working past retirement age has benefits beyond financial gain

by Alliance America
September 26, 2023


In today's rapidly evolving socio-economic landscape, the concept of retirement is undergoing a transformation. An increasing number of retirees are bucking the notion that retirement means an abrupt end to decades of work, replaced by leisurely days of relaxation, travel, leisure and simply wasting away in Margaritaville. Today, many retirees choose to continue working past the traditional retirement age — not necessarily for the money, but for a variety of other reasons that span both economic and psychological motives.

Why do retirees continue working after they've retired?

older male and female dressed in business clothes working together

Many people define themselves by their careers. Work gives them a sense of purpose and identity. Continuing to work, even part-time, can provide a sense of accomplishment and validation. Work often provides a sense of identity and purpose, enhancing self-worth and confidence.

For many, the workplace is a hub for social interaction. It offers a chance to collaborate, engage in team projects and simply chat with co-workers. Retirees often miss this social fabric, and returning to work can alleviate feelings of isolation or loneliness. Just the routine of getting out and going somewhere can be a source of social engagement that many retirees aren't ready to give up.

Besides, regular work can be both mentally challenging and physically engaging, depending on the job. This kind of stimulation can be essential for cognitive health and can potentially delay or mitigate some age-related cognitive declines. After decades in a profession, retirees possess a wealth of knowledge and skills. Many are not ready to let those hard-earned skills go dormant. They take pride in their expertise and seek avenues where they can continue to apply and share it.

Better yet, the ever-evolving professional landscape offers an opportunity for continuous growth. Many retirees enjoy the challenge of keeping up with new technologies, methodologies or industry trends. Older employees have a wealth of experience that younger colleagues can benefit from. Similarly, younger employees can introduce older colleagues to new technologies and modern methodologies. This exchange is mutually beneficial and fosters an environment of continuous learning.

Working during retirement also provides flexibility and new opportunities to try something new. Some retirees take on entirely different roles or careers, exploring passions they didn't have the time for during their primary working years. The gig economy, consulting or part-time roles can offer this flexibility.

Are there tax issues for retired people who are still working?

While the allure of a job, whether for financial, personal or professional reasons, remains strong, employment during retirement can have tax implications that may be different from those experienced during one's primary working years.

If you're receiving Social Security benefits while still earning an income, you may have to pay taxes on a portion of your benefits if your combined income surpasses certain thresholds. You’ll need to consider your provisional income, which is the sum of your adjusted gross income, nontaxable interest and half of your Social Security benefits. If this amount exceeds $25,000 for individuals or $32,000 for couples filing jointly, up to 85% of your Social Security benefits can become taxable.

If you're 73 or older, you must start taking required minimum distributions (RMDs) from certain types of retirement accounts like 401(k)s and traditional IRAs. However, if you're still working for the company that sponsors your 401(k), you might be able to delay these RMDs, as long as you're not a 5% or more owner of the business. This does not apply to IRAs or old 401(k)s from previous employers.

If you're working, you can still contribute to retirement accounts. Older Americans can make "catch-up" contributions to IRAs and 401(k)s, increasing the amount they can contribute above standard limits.

High earners, even in retirement, can face surcharges on their Medicare Part B and Part D premiums. If you continue to work and have a high income, you might cross the threshold, resulting in increased Medicare premiums.

If your post-retirement work involves self-employment or freelancing, you'll have to deal with self-employment taxes, which cover Medicare and Social Security. However, once you reach full retirement age, you'll no longer have to pay the Social Security portion of the self-employment tax, though Medicare tax will still apply.

Earning job income during retirement can push you into a higher tax bracket. This not only impacts the rate at which your income is taxed but may also impact the taxation on capital gains, qualified dividends and other forms of income.

While Social Security benefits are exempt from federal tax up to a certain level, some states do tax them. If you live in one of these states and continue to work, increasing your overall income, you could see a rise in state tax obligations.

You might be eligible for certain tax breaks, such as deductions for work-related expenses. If self-employed, this could include home office deductions, business travel or other necessary expenses related to your work.

Continued earnings can increase the size of your estate, potentially subjecting it to higher estate taxes upon your passing. However, this is only a concern for very high-net-worth individuals, as the federal estate tax exemption at $12.92 million (2023) is quite high.

Older workers might qualify for certain tax credits that reduce their tax liability. For instance, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) isn't just for young workers; it can benefit older ones, too, provided they meet the income criteria.

How much can I earn while receiving Social Security?

There are specific limits, and if you exceed them, your benefits might be temporarily reduced. As of 2023, if you're below full retirement age, you'd have $1 deducted from your benefits for every $2 you earn above the annual limit of $21,240. In the year you reach full retirement age, it changes to $1 deducted for every $3 you earn above $56,520. After reaching full retirement age, there are no earning limits.

What are some examples of retirees benefitting from working?

These days, retirement doesn't necessarily signify an end to professional pursuits. Quite the contrary: Numerous retirees are choosing to remain gainfully employed, discovering tangible and intangible rewards in the process.

Take the example of Robert. At 68, this former journalist took the academic route, teaching at a community college. Not only did this career shift allow him to impart his vast experience to younger learners, but he also found himself navigating the nuances of digital journalism. The result? A mentally rejuvenated Robert who cherished the bonds he built with younger generations.

Then there is Margaret, a 72-year-old dietician who channeled her expertise into nutritional workshops tailored for seniors. The direct positive impact she made on her peers gave her work profound meaning.

Carlos, a craftsman of 70 years, meanwhile embraced the digital age, launching an online store for his handcrafted furniture. This endeavor not only honed his technological skills but also expanded his market reach across borders.

Lakshmi, on the other hand, utilized her background as a bank manager in her 60s to empower women from low-income backgrounds, teaching them financial literacy. The bonds she formed and the empowerment she facilitated gave her a deep sense of purpose.

Another example is Sam, who transitioned from his lucrative career as a corporate attorney at 67 to offer pro bono legal aid to marginalized communities. The emotional rewards he reaped from this shift were unparalleled.

Lastly, Sophia's tale as a pediatrician is equally inspiring. At 69, she opted to serve part-time in clinics in underserved areas, ensuring her vast expertise was put to use where it was desperately needed.

These examples show some of the many reasons behind the choice to work post-retirement. Be it the thrill of mental challenges, the warmth of social connections or the urge to contribute positively to society, the decision is deeply personal. Yet, the benefits of working beyond traditional retirement age can be multifaceted and deeply enriching.

What are popular job opportunities for people of retirement age?

Retirees have a plethora of job opportunities available to them. Here's a look at some of the most popular jobs for those in their golden years and the opportunities they offer.

older man working in factory demonstrating controls to younger adults
  • Consultancy: Many retirees leverage the experience and expertise they've garnered over their careers by becoming consultants. Businesses often seek the wisdom of seasoned professionals to guide them through challenges, refine strategies, or mentor younger employees.

  • Retail: Retail positions, particularly part-time roles, are popular among retirees. These jobs often provide flexibility, a steady income and a chance for social interaction. Companies such as Home Depot, Walmart and Lowe's have been recognized for hiring and supporting senior employees.

  • Tutoring or teaching: Those with backgrounds in education or specialized fields often gravitate toward tutoring or teaching roles. Community colleges or adult education programs, in particular, offer opportunities for retirees to teach courses on topics they're passionate about.

  • Tour guide: With rich life experiences and potentially deep knowledge about certain locales or topics, many retirees find joy in becoming tour guides. This role allows them to interact with diverse groups of people and share knowledge while also staying active.

  • Freelance writing: For those with a knack for the written word, freelance writing offers flexibility and the ability to work from home. Retirees can write articles, blogs or even memoirs, sharing their experiences and insights with wider audiences.

  • Caregiving: Given their inherent wisdom and patience, many retirees opt for roles in caregiving, be it for the elderly, children or even pets. Such roles provide a sense of purpose and can be deeply fulfilling.

  • Gardening or landscaping: For retirees with green thumbs, gardening or landscaping positions can be both therapeutic and financially rewarding. Local nurseries or homeowners often hire experienced individuals to care for plants or design gardens.

  • Driving: With the rise of rideshare platforms like Uber and Lyft, driving has become a flexible job option for many retirees. It offers an opportunity to meet new people daily while earning from the comfort of one's own car.

  • Crafting and artisanal work: Those skilled in crafts — such as knitting, woodworking, pottery or jewelry making — often turn their hobbies into post-retirement businesses. Platforms like Etsy have made it easier than ever to sell handcrafted items to a global audience.

  • Volunteer work: While not a paid position, many retirees find unparalleled satisfaction in volunteering. Whether at local libraries, hospitals or NGOs, the sense of giving back to the community is often its own reward.


The traditional image of retirement — marked by endless days of leisure and relaxation — has undergone a remarkable transformation. The increasing trend of retirees remaining active in the workforce underscores not only the changing financial landscape but also the multifaceted benefits of continuing to engage in professional pursuits. Whether it's for the cognitive stimulation, the social connections or the chance to explore new passions, working post-retirement offers myriad rewards that go beyond mere financial gains.

While there are certain financial considerations to take into account, like tax implications, the evolving workforce is becoming more accommodating of older employees. The richness of their experience, coupled with the opportunity to collaborate with younger generations, creates a blend of wisdom and innovation in the professional environment.

The stories of Robert, Margaret, Carlos, Lakshmi, Sam and Sophia, among countless others, illuminate the diverse paths retirees can embark upon. From consultancy to crafting, driving to teaching, the opportunities are as vast as they are fulfilling. As more retirees redefine this phase of life, society is offered a lesson that growth, learning and contribution don't have an expiration date. In the end, it's clear that retirement, for many, isn't about winding down but rather embracing new adventures with vigor and purpose.

Alliance America can help

Alliance America is an insurance and financial services company dedicated to the art of personal financial planning. Our financial professionals can assist you in maximizing your retirement resources and achieving your future goals. We have access to an array of products and services, all focused on helping you enjoy the retirement lifestyle you want and deserve. You can request a no-cost, no-obligation consultation by calling (833) 219-6884 today.

A mother reading a book with her daughter

Your legacy is vastly more than an amount of money left to your surviving beneficiaries. Part your legacy can be the example of a life well-lived that’s achieved through proper planning.

A senior couple stressed over tax liabilities

Too many people enter retirement with burdensome mortgages, car payments and credit-card debt that they’ve amassed during their working years. Proper management of these liabilities is fundamental to your current and future financial viability.

A daughter hugging her mother

Financial planning often is motivated by our love for our life partners, children, family members and friends.

Using a calculator to calculate taxes

Taxes have a significant impact your finances and can siphon assets unless you have a prudent approach to meet your objectives.