For Passion or For Money, More Seniors Keep Working

By: - September 20, 2019 12:00 am

ASHBURN, Va. — At 76, Anne Doane is still stocking shelves in a Wegmans here, leaning to fill a display with hairbrushes as Don Henley’s “Boys of Summer” plays over the store’s sound system.

“I never saved throughout my life, so therefore I have to do this,” Doane said. “And because I like it. I want to get out of the house. I want to talk to people. And I need the money.”

More U.S. workers are working after turning 65, both out of financial necessity and to stay busy, a trend the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics sees increasing over the next 10 years. The bureau projects the share of seniors working or actively looking for jobs to rise from 19.6% in 2018 to 23.3% in 2028, nearly double the rate of 1998, when it was less than 12%.

More than 165,000 seniors are working in grocery stores, earning an average of about $31,000 a year. About half of the more than 9 million workers 65 and older are in retail, health care, business services or education, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data and a Stateline analysis of Current Population Survey microdata.

Some of the highest-paying jobs for seniors are in colleges and universities, where the average salary for the age group is more than $93,000 a year, and in charity and advocacy groups, where the average for the age group is more than $107,000 a year.

It may be a shock for people to find that they can’t get by on Social Security alone, especially for those who claim their benefits before they turn 70. Social Security currently maxes out at $2,209 a month for those who file at 62 and $3,770 for those who file at 70.

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Tim Henderson
Tim Henderson

Tim Henderson covers demographics for Stateline. He has been a reporter at the Miami Herald, the Cincinnati Enquirer and the Journal News.