In The New Reality of Old Age in America from The Washington Post, Mary Jordan and Kevin Sullivan introduce us to a few older couples who are work campers or workampers. This term applies to people of retirement age who generally live in a camper or RV and travel to seasonal work that is usually lower paying and includes no benefits. Stories like this of people who must work in retirement are becoming more prevalent as people come up short in their retirement planning.
Gen Xers Planning to Work in Retirement?
One of the biggest mistakes people make when they are young is underestimating how growing older will slow them down. Ask the average person who is over forty if they have noticed a change in their physical stamina and most will say that they can tell a bit of a difference. Ask someone over fifty and, if they are honest, they will admit that they can tell. And so it goes with each successive decade.
Many people now say they will delay retirement as long as possible. Many plan on working until they die. There are lots of stories about people working well into their seventies now.
While the sentiment might sound great, it isn’t a retirement strategy. A retirement strategy is to save and plan like you won’t be able to work past early retirement. Anything you can do after that is icing on the cake.
Working until you’re 75 or 80 as part of a retirement strategy is planning to fail. If you find something you enjoy doing and you can make money doing it well into older age, then that is one thing. Being forced to choose between eating and working when you’re 70 or 75 or 80 and in failing health is a terrible strategy.
What can you do today to avoid being trapped into working longer than you should?