After a 30-year career with

Procter & Gamble,

Francis Nelson Beebe was living his retirement dream – playing about 200 rounds of golf a year – before there was a revelation.

“One day I was standing over a putt and said: ‘I can’t do that all my life,’” the former logistician recalls.

For Beebe, who completed the Cordon Bleu culinary program after retiring from P&G, this meant a second job as a baker and owner of Mr. Nelson’s Cookies. Beebe makes 24 batches of a dozen artisanal chocolate chip cookies five days a week, which he sells in packs of six or twelve over the Internet or individually at farmers’ markets on weekends.

“I’m 73 years old and I feel 45,” says Beebe, who bakes in Gold Canyon, Arizona, after his seven-year retirement. “I can’t wait to get up in the morning.”

Francis Nelson Beebe and his wife Michele with his signature biscuits.

Courtesy Francis Nelson Beebe

The percentage of employed Americans of retirement age has doubled since 1985, according to a study by investment firm United Income that examined federal data. 20 percent of those over 65 are working or looking for work.

Many Americans, especially lower-income retirees, have no choice but to keep working to make a living. Part-time work can also enable families with higher incomes to prevent them from drawing on old-age provision postpone the arrival of social security in order to maximize their value.

Other people with no need for cash choose to retire to work to stay busy and engaged. Health experts say maintaining social connections and physical activity help slow aging, and part-time work can help in both cases.

“Keeping moving keeps you from becoming frail as you age,” said Carolyn McClanahan, who is both a doctor and financial advisor based in Jacksonville, Florida. McClanahan recommends all of her clients retire to work if they can find something they enjoy.


Barron’s offers retirement planning and advice in a weekly roundup of our after-work preparation articles.

One of her clients is a retired business executive. “She was really starting to languish and making no sense,” says McClanahan after she retired. The woman got a job as an executive assistant and worked another five or six years, making $ 30,000 or $ 40,000 a year before retiring. She has more outside interests and is much better the second time she retires, says McClanahan.

If you are retired or preparing to retire, here are the financial and health benefits that can come from continuing to work at a certain level.


Every dollar you make in retirement is another dollar that you don’t need to take out of your investments. Even low-paying jobs can make a huge difference in how long your savings will last.

For example, let’s say you are making $ 20,000 working part-time as a retiree. It takes roughly a $ 500,000 portfolio to generate $ 20,000 per year for 30 years of retirement using the 4% withdrawal rule, McClanahan points out. It’s usually easier to earn $ 20,000 a year part-time than amassing another half a million dollars.

“By not having to divest your portfolio, you can grow it,” said Karl Schwartz, financial advisor and auditor based in Miami. “In this scenario, your wealth will end up being a lot longer.”

Social Security Delay

This state pension is an inflation-adjusted pension with survivor benefits. And you have all the motivation to make it as big as you can before you start collecting, especially if you are the top earner in a family.

For example, let’s say you retire at age 62 and you want to withdraw from Social Security when you reach full retirement age of $ 67 a month.

Let’s say you get a part-time job to replace that money. You work eight years until you are 70 and then you start drawing social security. You’re now getting $ 3,720 per month for the rest of your life, 77% over the $ 2,100 you would have received by the age of 62 and 24% over the $ 3,000 by the age of 67.

And it’s not just you who come out on top. If you die, your spouse will get that bigger check for the rest of their lives.

What if you start drawing social security at the age of 62 and find that it is a mistake? You can repay all the money you have collected from social security within 12 months and wait until later to start your benefits.

Even if this is not an option, retirees get ahead by returning to work. Some hesitate because of the Social Security income limit, which reduces their benefit by $ 1 for every $ 2 they make over $ 18,960. In most cases, however, they get this money back because Social Security increases their benefits after they reach full retirement age. It’s the equivalent of early retirement.

Make Roth IRA contributions

If you work part-time and are over 50, you can deposit up to $ 7,000 in annual income into a Roth individual retirement account.

Since Roth accounts are funded with post-tax money, any money withdrawn from them is tax-free. They offer the potential for decades of tax-free growth, and they should typically be the last accounts you tap into in retirement, says financial advisor and auditor Ann Gugle of Charlotte, NC

She calls Roth accounts an “insurance policy” in the event that the government raises tax rates in the future. Roths are also a great way to pass money on to children tax-free, as you pay no tax on investments in a Roth while you are alive, they go tax-free to the heirs, and the heirs have up to 10 more years of tax-free growth before they have to empty the Roth. And they still don’t pay taxes when they empty the Roth.

Stay in contact

research has shown that seniors who have strong social networks have better overall health, including better brain function. Part-time work forces people to stay connected.

If you continue to work part-time for your old company, you will receive the network you have built throughout your professional life. When you move into a new work environment, start building a new network. Both are good for your health. And learning a new skill in retirement will help your brain too.

Lee McGowan, a financial advisor based in the Boston area, says his clients are increasingly viewing retirement as a time to slow down and not stop working. “People turn 65 and say, ‘What will I do for the rest of my life and what will give me meaning and I want to keep working,’” he says.

Stay sharp

Many retirees end up doing similar jobs as they did during their careers, sometimes in the same companies.

Lauren Lindsay, a Houston-based financial advisor, has many clients who are pulling out of energy companies and then back into the industry. “They are brought back because they have the know-how and can complete a project or look after their successor,” she says.

Jim Price, 75, retired as a family doctor at the University of Florida at Jacksonville four years ago. He retired and moved to Ocala, Florida. The University of Florida at Gainesville asked him to work in their heart practice three days a week. It took him three years to do this.

Price hasn’t worked in the past year as he and his wife travel a lot, but plans to return to a part-time doctorate.

“I know guys who were in their 90s before they quit,” he says. “Physically, they may have been compromised. But mentally they were pretty good. “

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