The realities of retirement: Why some seniors want to keep working

The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research had a poll which showed that 23% of workers don’t expect to stop working even if they’ve reached retirement age. In fact a reason why older workers leave their jobs earlier than expected are due to illness, injury, layoffs, and caregiving issues, say experts.

Government data on the other hand shows that 1 in 5 people 65 and older were working or actively looking for a job in June, mostly because of money-related issues. However remaining in the workforce may be unrealistic as high medical bills and a lack of savings loom large over day-to-day expenditures.

While the data reflects livelihood in the United States, the same can be said for retirees in the Philippines. The monthly retirement pension given the Social Security System (SSS) and the General Service Insurance System (GSIS) can be as low as Php 2,200 and Php 5,000, respectively.

“People like me, who are average, everyday working people, can have something catastrophic happen, and we lose everything because of medical bills,” says Larry Zarzecki, a former police officer who was forced to retire in his 40s. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, and has learned “to take from Peter and give to Paul to help make ends meet.”

The livelihood struggles of seniors are one of the reasons why the House of Representatives are looking at lowering the optional age of retirement, starting with government employees which they approved to bring down to 56. This way civil servants may “enjoy their retirement benefits for as long as possible.”

What most Filipinos look at when retiring is making sure they don’t spend quickly their savings, or be a burden to anyone who looks after them. So it should come as no surprise why seniors will still want to keep working, they know life won’t be the same after retirement.

Data from AFP.

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