Work and Retirement: Age 65+

Older adults who are still working are typically committed to their work, are productive, report high job satisfaction, and rarely change jobs. However, fewer older adults are working today than were in the 1950s. In fact, only a small portion of adults age 70 and older are in the work force. With Social Security benefits beginning as early as age 62, some companies have opted to offer early retirement incentives that permit employees to leave their positions without penalizing them before the regular retirement age. Then the companies can hire less‐experienced and less‐expensive employees. Other companies encourage their older workers to continue working part‐time. While many older adults continue to work for pay, most retire between the ages of 65 and 70.

Retirement is a major transition of late adulthood. The retired person must eventually accept a more leisurely life, whether desired or not. He or she must also continue to live in a worker's world, in which retirees are viewed as spent or devalued. Indeed, the psychological impact of retirement on older adults can be significant. Many must contend with feelings of depression, uselessness, and low self‐esteem.

People who are in good health, are better educated, have few or no financial worries, have adequate family and social networks, and are satisfied with life usually look forward to retirement. Retirees may choose to spend their free time volunteering for charities, traveling, taking classes, or engaging in hobbies. The least satisfied retirees are those who never planned for retirement, have limited income, have few or no extracurricular activities, and who stay home day after day with nothing substantial to occupy their time.