It’s easy to think of retirement as a period of life when work is off the table. But these days, a growing number of workers are planning to hold down some type of job once their primary careers come to a close.

A good 57% of workers today said they’ll earn money in some capacity once they retire, according to the 21st Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey. And Gen Xers and millennials are more likely than other age groups to plan to work during their senior years.

If you’re not planning to have a job in retirement, you may want to rethink that plan. Here’s why.

Person running pencil along wood.

Image source: Getty Images.

1. Your savings might need a boost

Transamerica reports that the median retirement savings balance among all workers today is $93,000. Now to be clear, that’s not a small amount of money for workers in their 20s, and it’s not bad for those in their 30s.

But if you’re in your 50s with a mere $93,000 socked away in a retirement plan, you may not get a whole lot of income out of your nest egg later in life. Having a job is a good way to make up for a balance that’s lower than you’d like it to be.

Also, earning money could make it possible to keep your nest egg untapped for longer. And that could, in turn, give your money a little more time to grow.

2. Social Security could get cut

Some workers today fear that Social Security will run out of money by the time their retirement rolls around. The good news is that’s unlikely to happen. The bad news is that the program may have to cut benefits in the not-so-distant future if lawmakers don’t figure out a way to help it collect more revenue.

Since benefit cuts are a very real possibility right now, it’s a good idea to plan to work in some capacity once you retire. The income from that job could help make up for the fact that your Social Security income isn’t as robust as you may have expected it to be.

3. You may need a low-cost way to stay occupied

Being retired means having many free hours to fill on a daily basis. And that could get expensive.

The great thing about holding down a job is that you’ll have something to keep yourself busy with. And rather than spend money to stay active and occupied, you’ll instead get to earn money you can use to pay for expenses or buy yourself extra flexibility to travel or enjoy different types of leisure.

What does working as a retiree look like for you?

These days, holding down a job as a retiree doesn’t have to mean working a cash register or sitting in a call center all day long. There are many creative gigs you can take on, like selling baked goods or crafts. Or, you can find a job that’s extremely flexible, like driving for a

As experts attempt to explain why businesses are struggling to hire, some have made the case that the pandemic encouraged older working Americans to retire earlier than expected.

Why it matters: If it’s true that retirements are unusually high, then the labor market may have less slack than many assume.

  • However, it’s not too unusual for people to retire only to eventually return to work again.

By the numbers: The percentage of the U.S. population in retirement has been increasing modestly for years, but jumped from 18.5% in February 2020 to 19.6% in May 2021. This is an increase of about 2.9 million people during the period.

  • In a study first conducted by the Dallas Fed in May, and updated in July for Axios, just 1.2 million would have retired assuming a continuation of 2019 retirement rates.
  • This means an extra 1.7 million retired earlier than expected.
  • This trend is confirmed by the labor force participation rate, which remains depressed at 38.4% for those age 55 and over. This is down from 40%+ levels before the pandemic.

What they’re saying: “Early-retirement decisions during the pandemic, boosted by well-cushioned 401(k) accounts, have partly dampened the supply of older workers,” wrote Oxford Economics lead U.S. economist Lydia Boussour.

  • “The virus’ significant health risks for the most senior workers and their lower ability to telework led many to opt out of the workforce.”

Yes, but: “I am convinced that at least some of the retirement population is more transitory in nature, especially given that some are relatively young,” Invesco chief global market strategist Kristina Hooper tells Axios.

  • Retirees could come back as wages increase and COVID risk subsides — and as retirement savings dries up, Hooper says.

The bottom line: “People’s decisions to work is affected by a wide array of factors, and even if some constraints are removed it’ll take some time before the post-COVID normal resembles the pre-COVID normal,” Oxford Economics’ chief U.S. economist Greg Daco tells Axios.

Seattle Storm coach Dan Hughes announced on Sunday that he is retiring from the WNBA after over two decades in the league. Associate head coach Noelle Quinn will take over as Storm head coach on a permanent basis. Hughes will still serve as an assistant coach for the U.S. Women’s Basketball Team at the Tokyo Olympics this summer. 

“After over 40 years of coaching basketball, I want to finish my career with the focus and determination with which I started,” Hughes said in a statement. “The Seattle Storm is in amazing shape, after two championships and a terrific playoff run in 2019, I would like to announce my retirement from the WNBA. I believe now is the right time because the team is performing well, but the rigors of being a head coach in the WNBA have taken their toll on me.”

Hughes started his career as an assistant coach on the now-defunct Charlotte Sting back in 1999. In the time since then, he’s served as head coach for the Sting, Cleveland Rockers (also defunct), San Antonio Silver Stars (now the Las Vegas Aces) and the Storm. 

Along the way, he won two Coach of the Year Awards in 2001 and 2007, and led the Storm to the championship in 2018. In 2019, Hughes was diagnosed with cancer and missed the team’s first nine games after undergoing surgery to remove a tumor from his digestive tract. Due to his previous health concerns, he did not travel to the bubble with the Storm last season when they won the title again. Hughes retires with 286 career wins, which is tied for third-most all-time.

Hughes recently stepped away from the team to attend his son’s graduation from the Air Force Academy. In a statement to ESPN, he said that the time away helped him come to the realization that it was time to retire. 

“I remember calling [Quinn after she served as head coach in the Storm’s win over the Sun] and saying ‘I’m so proud of you, watching your presence and what you’re doing,'” Hughes said. “It’s just funny how sometimes things kind of fall into place for a reason. I constantly preach about watching the journey you’re on, whether it’s a team or an individual, because sometimes that journey will teach you and have moments that you actually need to recognize and I thought that was probably one right there.”

Quinn spent over a decade in the league with five different teams, including two stints with the Storm. She was a part of the team that won the title in 2018, then retired to start her coaching career. She’s served as an assistant coach under Hughes in 2019 and was promoted to associate head coach in 2020. Now, she’ll take over the job in full, and become

(NerdWallet) – Pandemic-related job losses forced many older Americans out of the workplace in the past year, perhaps permanently. But the COVID-19 crisis also seems to have delayed some retirements.

Remote work eliminated commutes and often allowed more flexible schedules with fewer interruptions. At the same time, the pandemic restricted many traditional retirement activities, including travel and visits with family. While some employed older workers look forward to retiring when restrictions ease, others say teleworking has made staying on the job more tenable.

Tax accountant Larry B. Harris of Asheville, North Carolina, found a lot to like about working from home, including more flexibility and less time in his car.

“I’d never worked from home except in a snowstorm. I found that I loved it,” says Harris, 67. “I think it will keep me working longer.”

Uneven recovery, uneven retirement impact

Economists talk about a K-shaped recovery, where a portion of the nation’s industries and population bounce back quickly from recession while others stagnate or continue to sink. Something similar may be happening with baby boomer retirements, as better-off workers gain more options while those with fewer choices lose ground.

The pace of retirements among baby boomers, those born from 1946 to 1964, accelerated during the pandemic, a Pew Research Center analysis of monthly labor force data found. The number of boomers who reported that they were out of the labor force due to retirement grew 3.2 million in the third quarter of 2020 compared with the previous year. Before the pandemic, the number of retired boomers had been growing an average of 2 million each year since 2011, when the first boomer turned 65.

Some people retired to avoid COVID-19 exposure, while others may have been nudged to “seize the day” by the pandemic’s reminder of our mortality. But massive job losses may have forced many into early retirement, economists and financial planners say.

One of certified financial planner Neal Van Zutphen’s clients, a woman in her late 50s, lost a well-paying job in the hospitality industry. Most people who lose a full-time job in their 50s never recover financially, according to research by nonprofit newsroom ProPublica and the Urban Institute, a nonprofit research organization.

“It’s difficult to find a new position of similar caliber,” says Van Zutphen of Tempe, Arizona. “She hopes to work part time at something.”

Pandemic recession hit older workers harder

Older workers lost jobs faster and returned to work slower last year than midcareer workers, according to a study by The New School’s Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis that tracked unemployment from April through September last year. The study found that for the first time since 1973, workers 55 and older faced persistently higher unemployment rates than workers ages 35 to 54.

Certain older workers — women, Black people and those without college degrees — were even more likely to lose their jobs. And these workers tend to have less saved, so they are also more exposed to retirement risks such