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Working Late in Life: Dream or Nightmare?

When you imagine working until age 70, does it conjure a dream or a nightmare?

Years ago, the immediate answer was, “Hell no, not me! “But a new Harvard study says that women are not so quick to pack it when they hit traditional retirement age.

Today, women are more likely to work into their 60s and 70s, often full-time, because they find work fulfilling, a marked change from the post recession years when many women had no choice but to work beyond 65 to make ends meet.

Which describes you: work to live or live to work?


  1. elizabeth

    I am over 70 and still working. I took a break for about 15 months thinking that retirement would be glorious – it’s not. I found I missed the social interaction, the routine and the feeling that I am contributing to the community at large.

    I don’t have as big a job as I did, but that is okay, I really don’t miss the semi-annual and annual review process, or the intervening when there is discord, or the constant jockeying for budget resources, ad nauseum.

    Now working is not a headache, it is a delight. I work with people who are sane, who treat everybody with respect and dignity and who know how to laugh at the things that used to drive me crazy.

    Personally, unless you are ill and cannot work, I believe everybody should work, it keeps us active, mentally healthy and in the mainstream of life.

  2. Marion

    I will be 68 in June. I am not thinking about retiring. I have some health issues but think they would be worse if I slowed down. I love what I do and get paid well. If I were to retire, I would do something, then I would then be working for free, volunteering. I think I will just keep doing what I am doing.

  3. Brenda Bell

    I knew from the time I graduated college that retirement would never be a financial option for me — the amount of money I’d’ve needed to put away in order to retire at 65 was more than the gross salary of most new baccalaureates. Also, having parents who refused to put forth the effort to make sure my sister and I had drivers’ licenses before graduating high school cut us out of all but low-paying, dead-end jobs.

    As long as we can get the jobs, we’ll be working until the days we die — and if we are refused the ability to work (age discrimination, older information/talent, insufficient productivity, workforce attrition due to automation and globalization), we will likely die at ages much younger than our parents did.

  4. Susan Kaye

    For the past 6 years I have been working part time low wage jobs. I August I turned 62 and started to collect social security and continue to work.I have restrictions until my full retirement age of 66. But I am working and the amount will continue to go up. I don’t think I will ever be able to retire because of the down turn in the economy of 2008-2010 I was hurt very badly.I don’t care to go into the details if I do I will get very desperate and sick.

  5. Rochelle Caits

    This is phony, fake and repulsive. I work so as not to be homeless (I not dead).

  6. Susan VanSchaick-SaintLaurent

    I have to work until I drop. My history speaks for itself when one tries to do the right thing-overcome hurdles, and get slapped down, again, again, again–in a world where relativism, nepotism, dishonesty, etc are the norms and the ones who try to live a straight path are marginalized.

    • Svs

      Brenda Bell stated the reality of real life apart from the Ozzie and Harriet the lucky ones daydream about.
      Two thirds of the girls I sat with on the school bus years ago died prematurely..90percent from working to death balancing several part-time jobs..not up to their potential but in low wage jobs,underemployed..trying to make ends meet. Most folks have broken homes with no real financial cushions. Poverty is violence. It is difficult trying to be polite with the folks who rig the system and those who double dip on jobs, pensions, nepotism and patronage and are smug with themselves.

  7. Marjorie M. Sutter

    Live to work!

  8. Helen Albanese

    I have worked since I was 6 years old, starting with picking cotton on my father’s farm. Now, 6 years retired, I still work part time, helping people with declutter and filing and administrative projects. And for fun I have a client who owns a pet care business. She sends me to local on-site two week long pet sits, so I pack a suitcase and my laptop and move in while the family travels or handles emergencies.

    It’s fun to put a check in the bank every couple of weeks and still be useful to others.

    I had a friend who, until she was about 85, did in-home child care when parents traveled for work assignments. Her calendar was busier than mine when I worked full time. She said the work kept her young! She was like a grandmother to the children and loved “advising” the young parents. If the children didn’t do what she asked, she refused to work there again; that generally got the misbehavers shaped up, as the parents had no alternative for overnight child care.

    I like have something current to talk about with friends and new acquaintances.

  9. Gail Sas

    My husband is 74 and working full time. He is field service for Siemens Diagnostics and likes the work. I think sometimes when people retire they lose their purpose and a sense of being needed by the world. People should be able to work for as long as they feel they want to and can physically do so! I am self employed and while my work is a struggle I keep working at finding the direction for it!

  10. Started my own company 7 years ago – just before attending the Atlanta “Spark & Hustle” conference. Am celebrating my 65th birthday on Friday……going strong and likely to work another 5 years!

  11. Debra Kitchen

    I live in Michigan. I need a job. Clerical or Light Assembly.

  12. Nancy

    I worked hard during my career and was fortunate to have senior level positions. I think the Europeans and other folks around the world have the balance: work and also enjoy your personal time off (vacations and retirement). I am retired; I volunteer and take part in educational and other growth experiences as well as go to the gym which never fit in while I was working. I loved it when I was working AND I love this new chapter of my life.

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