Finding a labor of love

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In some ways, a healthy retirement relies on the proper choice of preposition.

You want to retire to something – a passion or hobby – rather than from something. Want to retire so you can spend more time with your grandchildren? Great. Can’t wait to retire so you can stop working at a job you find uninspiring? Okay, but then what?

Rising life expectancies and opportunities for good health have produced a generation of octogenarians who crave activities and may need some additional resources to fund them.

That’s why we often recommend that the best retirements sometimes include work. We certainly condone leaving a job you no longer enjoy if you have the financial resources to do so, but, if you have no other plans, consider part-time work in a related field.

Work as a consultant, tutor, freelance writer, receptionist or cashier. The wages you earn will help you avoid dipping into your retirement funds, which will give them a better opportunity to grow.

Even if you’re very confident you have set yourself up financially for a successful retirement, you still might crave the opportunity to feel useful. In that case, volunteer as a coach, mentor, docent or usher.

The idea is to stay active and productive. Give yourself a reason to leave your house, challenge your brain to keep it sharp and allow yourself opportunities for social connections.

If you love your job and enjoy your co-workers don’t retire just because your birthdate says you can. Social Security calculates your monthly payment based on your 35 highest wage earning years. Most people earn much higher wages in their later years of employment than they did in their early years. So, the more years you work earning the higher wages, the more lower-wage years you will replace. This will boost your monthly Social Security payment (up to the highest Social Security benefit amount you can receive , which is $2,788 per month in 2018, once you’ve reached your full retirement age.)

Beyond monetary reasons (though we’ll always advocate for a little extra change in your pocket), there are plenty of reasons to continue working past your full retirement age. Just call it a labor of love.