|More seniors are working past retirement age||| Print ||
|Written by IVY FARGUHESON, The Star Press|
|Saturday, 23 November 2013 16:46|
MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) — For more and more people, turning 65 is no longer the time to put away the old working boots.
Senior citizens across the country are choosing to stay on the job well past the time they qualify for Medicare. Work offers not only cash to supplement Social Security checks, but also a chance to engage in the world around them.
"For me, when I turned 65, I was amazed I was that old. I thought, 'how could I be that old and feel so young?'" said Roni Johnson, executive director of the Community Foundation of Muncie and Delaware County, will reitre at the end of the year at the age of 70. "Turning 65 was just another birthday to me. It wasn't enough to erase my enthusiasm for coming to work."
Presently, 23 percent of Americans over the age of 65 are still working, with more than a third of this group clocking in because they are forced to financially, according to a 2012 Gallup poll.
The rest do so because they love going to work, opting to wake up early and even stay at the office late to do the things that need to be done.
Since 1958, Betty Clark has worked for Naze Perry Insurance (although it was Perry Insurance when she started), performing almost every task available during the last 55 years.
She originally planned to stay there for just a short time, hoping to bring in some extra income while her husband wondered if he'd get laid off from what was once Yorktown Tool. He didn't get laid off and she never left the company, even celebrating her 90th birthday earlier this month with her co-workers and family.
"I could have retired, but I just haven't felt the need to. I just like the people," she told The Starr Press (http://tspne.ws/1c0CqJP ). "I enjoy talking with them and getting to know the customers. And I never got out of my work routine. It's what's kept me young."
The customers have enjoyed getting to know Clark as well.
As a customer service representative, she addresses customers' needs - when they're in the best moods and when they're not - typing receipts and handling accounts.
The customers have become as attached to Clark as she to them, asking her co-workers about her when she's not there and coming back to see her after she's been ill or on vacation.
"I'm pretty sure she works as hard now as she did years ago," said Dick Naze, owner of Naze Perry Insurance. "In fact, I'd say she's a better worker than a 30-year-old. She doesn't mind coming to work and she doesn't mind working hard."
Despite their desire to get to work, many seniors have a silent contract with their employers and family regarding when it will be time to retire.
For physically active seniors, it may be when they can no longer move around with ease. For others, it will be when they can no longer remember names of customers or co-workers.
In Clark's case, she's talked with Naze about leaving the insurance game when he feels she's not working as well as she did years ago. Then and only then will she decide to retire.
"I told him he'll need to be honest about it. My daughters agree. That's when I'll walk away," Clark said. "I hope that's not anytime soon, though. I'm having too much fun. I guess I'll know when I try to get my paychecks and I don't see anything there!"
With average life expectancy now reaching 80 in the United States, more seniors feel they have time to work before enjoying those retirement years.
Close to 14 percent of the U.S. population is 65 years old or older now, but that's expected to increase to 21 percent by 2030, according to the U.S. Census data and projections.
Employers can expect to see more seniors in their workplaces in upcoming years, especially as Americans age.
"Sixty-five today isn't 65 from years ago," Johnson said. "With people getting healthier and being more physically active, it's not the 'go home and sit on the porch' age. Some of us are still working and want to be."
Information from: The Star Press, http://www.thestarpress.com
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.