Post-Retirement Aged Workers In the Workplace

by Honolulu Mother

This Pacific Standard article on a 91 year old working as a designer was interesting, both because the woman herself sounds like an interesting and impressive person and also for the points it raised about whether our culture drives post-retirement-aged people away from potentially continuing to work and the effect on our workplaces:

We’ve marginalized a lot of populations based on blanket prejudices, and our attitude toward old people is no different, Irving says. “The ironic thing is that aging is the one thing we have in common, if we’re lucky.” All generations have to think about aging, since we’ll all be affected. The mixed workplace may help reduce these prejudices. By keeping older adults active and integrated in our communities—and by thinking about our communities as wholes, instead of as isolated pockets—we will all benefit from the knowledge and expertise that comes from lives lived with purpose and vigor.

Do you have co-workers who are post-retirement age? Would you like to keep working after normal retirement age?

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106 thoughts on “Post-Retirement Aged Workers In the Workplace

  1. Rhett – cool story. That’s my mom & stepdad’s hospital of choice, if one really has such a thing. They live in the same town as she does.

  2. There are a few people here who have already vested in their pension (30 years) but continue to work. I can see continuing to work if you love it but I’m not sure about staying at the same place your whole career. I think we do dismiss people as they age and I think older people do have a lot to offer in experience and wisdom.

    My husband’s stepfather loves his work and he’s approaching 70. He can’t afford to retire but I don’t think he would anyway, he seem so happy and fulfilled right now, My MIL doesn’t love her job but I think she loves going to her job and having a social life there. She has thought about retiring this summer but I think she (and we) are worried about what she would do all day since her husband isn’t planning to retire.

  3. Are we using the Social Security definition of “full retirement age” which in my case would be 66y8mo?

    My financial plan has me working no later than 70; hopefully less if finances work out. But I can’t see leaving before 67.

    Our CFO retired earlier this year; he was 69. The president is 67; I figure he’ll stick around another 3-4 years. The new CFO is about 56, about the age of all the others at that level.

  4. DH would like to retire ASAP. My employer can be pretty friendly to older workers, if you have the right job. Mine is too fast paced to continue as I age. If I find the right position, I would like to stay here until I retire.

  5. The oldest person I know in my workplace is turning 60. However, you would never know that by his demeanor or personality. People like having him around. He worked at another firm prior to joining ours. He is surprised that things worked out and he is employed.
    The home country has companies with mandatory retirement age. A bunch of my relatives are retired prior to turning 60. They are looking at very long retirements since the lifespans there have increased dramatically.
    DH and I will probably be later retirees, than earlier.
    I liked Meme’s description of her retirement days. Her days seem to be a nice balance of doing things and leisure.

  6. I can’t imagine retiring. I wish there was a model for keeping older people working at reduced hours and more flexibility. Of course, we don’t have that for parents either, so I guess dream on.

    Meme sounds like she is having a good time but it also sounds like she puts a lot of work into planning her days. I am afraid I would not do that and would just sink into a sea of sloth. Without the kids around, too, and nobody needing me to do stuff, I think I would get depressed.

  7. My church has tons of opportunities for volunteers as much or as little as you wish. Lots of retirees volunteer. I would have to become a joiner though. I am sure once I join, I would go and consider it a “job”.

  8. Milo, I’m not sure what he’d do. Work out. Watch tv. His parents retired really early (55 years old) and they don’t get out much. He doesn’t have any positive examples of retirement. However, the siren song is strong.

  9. My DH’s oldest sister and her husband retired about 5 years ago. They used to be the most interesting people in his family – they travelled, went kayaking and diving, and the husband was always building gorgeous furniture and doing cool projects. They were up on the latest movies and books. But they have gotten increasingly insular since retirement. At Easter when we were visitng, it hit me – they have turned into stereotypical retirees. They had stopped travelling a few years ago because they got a dog, but the dog died and they still haven’t gone on any trips. They got rid of their kayaks and haven’t gone fishing in years. Worst of all, they insist on keeping dial up Internet (did you even know you could still get that???) and their VHS tape player, so they aren’t keeping up on movies or family news (can’t easily look at Facebook or posted photos). So I am sorry to say, but they have gotten boring.

  10. I would like to stay busy post-retirement age, but not sure if I want it to be paid employment. Although, my husband has a strong preference that if I’m going to be busy that I do it for compensation. We’ll see.

    I have an 80-something year old widowed aunt who was forced to retire from her government job about 5 or so years ago. She still does her two-bus commute into the office every day and waters the plants and I don’t know what else. Clearly, she was not ready to retire.

    My dad retired at 58 in a prior oil bust. He was chairman of the board of directors for the company credit union, on the loan review committee, taught literacy, did taxes for the elderly, etc. as well as playing in a regular golf group and poker group of fellow retirees. I would enjoy things like that that kept my mind engaged and active socially, but allowed me to dictate more of my own time.

    And Houston – we are good, thanks. We have received 16″ of rain in the last 24 hours, but our neighborhood’s system of faux lakes is handling it so far. The surrounding streets are flooded, so my route to work is impassable. I understand it has moved to your area, so I hope it doesn’t cause you NY problems.

    June, if you’re around let us know how you’re doing.

  11. IMO the ideal “post-retirement” career would include interesting work, flexibility, and the financial ability to walk away from the job at any time. I’m not sure how many of us are or will be lucky enough to have that.

    I know a man in his late fifties who is doing interesting work on projects he initiated, getting paid well, and can dictate his own hours with some restrictions. He works at a place where most executives retire in their mid-fifties, so most of his co-workers are younger. He’s in a pretty good place, but he does think about having even more free time to pursue his other interests.

    OTOH, last week I met a retired couple in their mid/late 60s who regaled me with their travel stories. They’re on the road almost half the year. After going to a relative’s wedding in Charleston SC this past week, next Sunday they off on a 3-week adventure that includes Machu Picchu and a cruise through the Panama Canal. They’re not boring at all.

  12. I also met a semi-retired archaeologist who continues to do consulting on what seems to be very interesting work related to his specialty. He’s not in great health, but he is able to continue working on a part-time basis and seems to enjoy his lifestyle.

  13. My grandmother worked full time into her 80s, and I will if I can.

    She worked for a family business and her boss was few years older than she was. It helps to have a job that isn’t physically demanding, too.

  14. ” I wish there was a model for keeping older people working at reduced hours and more flexibility. ”

    Emeritus?

    At my undergrad college, a lot of the profs eased into retirement, reducing their teaching and research loads. After my advisor officially retired, he still kept and office and would teach one, maybe two, classes each semester, giving the department flexibility to offer courses they otherwise couldn’t.

  15. My grandfather, was very interested in the world around him. He kept himself informed, read the newspapers, watched the news, went around talking to friends and relatives. My parents follow the same model. My Mom tries recipes and sends pictures of the dishes to her friends. She could post them on FB but her friends use their email more. When my parents are around my kids, they super easily connect and I wonder who is actually the grandparent.

  16. My FIL is 79 and works pretty full time at the business he started in the early 70s. I do think that’s a different situation when you’re calling all the shots. Generally, Monday PM, full days TWTh, Friday AM. He only lives a mile from his office so even when he’s not there he’s not really far away. Of his 3 kids, one has zero interest in being part of the company; one works there @ 60% and doesn’t have what it takes to run the whole thing; the other also works @ 60% and does more executive level work but wouldn’t really want to step up to the next level. There’s at least one grandkid who is interested but I’m not certain if FIL thinks that one is really right for the company. It’ll be interesting to see how things transition once he decides he’s out or dies (likely they’ll have to carry him out with his boots on).

  17. I wish that the 77-yo who died before he could retire from my firm had retired long before he did! We are finding a bunch of things that he was doing that he shouldn’t have been…

  18. We are finding a bunch of things that he was doing that he shouldn’t have been…

    I wonder if that is why he didn’t retire? He had to stick around to keep covering his tracks.

  19. A former co-worker of my wife loved traveling, and he and his wife retired fairly young so they could travel even more while they were young and healthy enough.

    In retirement, he would come back to work full time periodically as a contractor, working on specific projects for a couple months or so, through the design phase, in between the longer trips he and his wife were able to take in retirement, working on a few projects a year.

    He seemed quite happy with that arrangement. The project work paid for the travels, and kept him from getting bored, while being retired allowed him to take the longer trips that he couldn’t before retirement.

  20. My grandfather practiced dentistry until he was 80 which I think was good for him mentally, but we stopped going to him because he was starting to do things incorrectly.

  21. One of the founding members of my former law firm, who served during World War II AFTER graduating from law school, is still working.

  22. Scarlett, for passwords we use Dashlane. I don’t know what its relative advantages are, but my husband just switched us over to it last week. Seems easy enough.

  23. The first six months were just de compressing. Then there was a year of family sickness off and on. I only started to get organized busy this year, and I am figuring out the balance and relearning just say no. I have a good sized immediate family, near and far, and I am not yet medicare age. I also had my kids young, so was not footloose and fancy free in my 20s.

    I know so many people in their 60s who have a full life mixed paid and not. Most of those who work at regular hour jobs fall into one of 3 groups. Credentialed professionals academics and business owners. Late parents or others with dependents. Women and a few men with little in the way of assets.

  24. Several examples above of people who made work errors in their old age. How do you balance the benefits of having people work longer with the costs?

  25. My dad, a hard science professor, worked until he was close to 90, he had post docs, grad students and technicians although he refused to teach undergrads the fall after he turned 80 .He had a great time doing this although it didn’t suit my Mom, also an academic, who retired at 80 and didn’t like continuing to live on the school schedule until she was 85. I don’t know that having people work forever is good for the economy, it deprives young of employment but its kept my parents engaged in the world of ideas.

  26. “Well, young inexperienced workers make a lot of mistakes too…”

    But usually, older workers have more responsibility and less oversight.

  27. “Continuing to live on the school schedule…”
    I don’t like this at all but with what I would like to volunteer for, it will most likely turn out that I will be following the school schedule. Some of my parents’ friends are seniors who are tutors so their vacations are taken during the school holidays.

  28. MBT, we are doing okay! We’re home today (office and day care both closed), and there is minimal flooding in our neighborhood. But we have several friends in an area not far from us where a tornado touched down. Fortunately they are all okay (fence and tree damage, mostly), but some of their neighbors have major roof damage. Scary stuff. And some of the pictures of Brays Bayou and Woodland Heights are crazy!

    Scarlett, I just left a comment about 1Password on the previous post. That’s what we use and it works well for us across devices.

  29. I think it may be easier to stay in the workforce as you age-as opposed to having to re-enter after some retired years. Something to consider I suppose- staying employed and maybe going to part time, rather than leave/retire and find that you miss working. Age discrimination in hiring is pretty prevalent.

  30. My father retired at 62. As far as I can tell, he watches a lot of financial news and scaremongering on CNN, does some yardwork, and complains about various medical appointments. His one saving grace is that he is still raising my (much younger) half brother, so that keeps him from being too isolated and gets him out into the world. I fear for him when that kid grows up, though. He’s got no real social connections, and zero desire to go out into the world and make those connections, which feels like a recipe for disaster.

  31. I’ve thought about teaching English in North Korea (assuming it’s opened up by then) or working as a house parent at a home for developmentally disabled adults if I wind up as a healthy widow. In my family, one spouse or the other tends not to remain healthy long-term, and the healthy spouse winds up with a caregiving role which limits the healthy spouse’s activities and travel. My uncle who retired at ~76 coached high school softball, sold seed corn and planted corn (he contracted out the combining) until he reached that age. I think he’s still the president of the grain elevator and the cemetery board.

    Other roles for my aunts/uncles have included condo board president, Habitat for Humanity skilled and unskilled labor, volunteering to help people trying to start small businesses, running the church concession stand at the county fair, helping my cousin care for her disabled daughter and helping people fill out their tax returns. Two sets of aunts/uncles have been retired for 20+ years and they are not bored or boring.

  32. “I don’t want to retire, I’d just like a month off.”

    How much vacation time do you get? DW and I could do this now if we took most of our leave in one shot per year.

    My brother had a job that was very up and down, alternating between hectic periods where there was a lot of OT and slower periods, largely recovering from the previous hectic period and preparing for the next.

    As he got older, and his kids finished school, he started taking comp time instead of OT, and combining that with vacation time to take off from mid-November through mid-January most years.

  33. As DS approaches college, I’ve had to take stock of our financial situation to figure out what options he’ll have for college. As part of that process, I’ve taken the deepest look into our retirement situation that I’ve taken since before he was born, and run various scenarios.

    Based on that, I’m figuring on retiring somewhere between 62 and 65, depending largely on what kind of financial aid DD gets for college. DW is a bit younger, and her plan is to retire at 62. This would give me a few years to catch up on a bunch of jobs around the house in the time before DW retires, at which point we’d do some traveling while still (we hope) young and healthy enough to enjoy it.

    As we’ve discussed here before, I also looking forward to spending a lot more time sleeping and exercising than I do now.

    SS will be our insurance against running out of money, so we’ll delay collecting until we turn 70.

  34. How much vacation time do you get?

    I bill by the hour so I could take more time. But, I don’t feel like I get my money’s worth taking that much time off. It’s a little crazy, I like the idea of it just not the practice.

  35. At my old job, many of the partners who were forced to retire still maintained offices and would come in fairly regularly to putz around. One guy was literally carried out feet first. No thanks! For now, the kids are a socially acceptable reason not to work. I suspect this will not be the case when the youngest goes to K so I have been toying with the idea of an additional degree. Or maybe I will take up marathon running before I get too old and my knees give out. Either way, I doubt I am going back to my old job. Some days I miss it, but on summery days like today, I am quite pleased not to be dealing with clients and conference calls.

  36. My brother the hip and knee R&D engineer is strongly opposed to marathon running as a recreational activity, despite the volume it provides to his company.

    My thermodynamics professor got his PhD in coal technology in 1951 and had grad students over 50 years later, as coal technology finally regained favor as an area of research.

    The question about the benefits to the person of remaining active vs. the risks to the organization if the person has cognitive issues is an important one. One of my former colleagues clearly had cognitive limitations and, to my knowledge, received a disability retirement package.

  37. I imagine DH and I will travel a lot during our retirement, and I hope to spend a ton of time with my grandkids. I would also like to volunteer at a local museum or the zoo. I look forward to more “puttering”. Weekends now are a marathon of chores and errands, with time for relaxation only in the evenings.

    However, I also think that a large portion of my time will be spent caring for aging parents and in-laws.

  38. I want to get out of the law fairly young (maybe mid-50s or so), not because I don’t like it, but because I am afraid of staying past the point where I have lost my mental sharpness. I work on my own, so I don’t have any L’s at my disposal who could clean up my messes! After my career as a lawyer, I would want to keep working at something, I just don’t know what. My very first job out of college was teaching English, and I have thought about maybe getting credentialed as a teacher of English as a second language.

    This might sound crazy, but in older age, I could see myself working the checkout line at Market Basket (a super popular local supermarket chain). Market Basket seems to employ a lot of senior citizens, for whom the job seems as much a provider of a social life as it does a provider of income.

  39. NoB, any thought to a succession plan with a younger lawyer who would eventually take over your practice?

  40. The law firm where I spent my first years of practice had a couple of semi-retired paralegals — old guys who’d been doing estate work for decades as everything-but-the-JDs — who treated the office mainly as a social club. They’d hang around the break room reading the paper, drinking coffee, and buttonholing any associate who didn’t move quickly enough. I think they did a little work too.

    We have a post-retirement person in my current office and he’s become a lot more mentally retired than he was when he started the post-retirement status some years back. I guess what is a plus for the post-retirement worker, the sense that none of this is really worth stressing over, isn’t necessarily a plus for the organization.

  41. I’ve never heard of these people who keep coming back to work after the termination of their employment status. Maybe it’s the security badge process that insulates me from it.

  42. Several elderly lawyers at my firm had “forced retirement”. They continued to come into the office every morning for weeks, out of habit or nothing else to do. Their wives were called to pick them up. Sad.

  43. My Plan D or E, if I ever find myself to be an impoverished widow, is to be a fraternity or sorority house mom in a college town. I could take some classes, have a place to live, and entertaining dinner company. They have their own little social community, so don’t have to worry about being isolated.

  44. We had security badges! Didn’t stop them. It was interesting, because they came in and didn’t get paid and it was like pulling teeth to get the millennials to show up and they were grossly overpaid.

  45. Where I work, people tend to either wait until one of those buyouts where they get a good retirement package, retire, and then teach a course or two as an emeritus. Or they stay until they keel over. Literally. Since I have been here, I think 3 faculty members in my college have keeled over and croaked in their offices. All were over 70. Actually, one keeled over in the parking lot on his way home from a student awards dinner. I think he was in his 80’s, and was chair of his department

  46. “They continued to come into the office every morning for weeks, out of habit or nothing else to do. Their wives were called to pick them up. Sad.”

    “Or they stay until they keel over. Literally. ”

    These are so depressing.

  47. Milo,

    “Or they stay until they keel over. Literally. ”

    That’s not sad if they liked what they were doing.

  48. I agree with Rhett that if one is in good health, wants to and is allowed by their job to continue working then, it is the best way to go. Beats sitting at home, arguing with your spouse, and petitioning for the call but not getting it (St. Peter probably has that number blocked from his phone).

  49. Thanks Lauren. It seems that the regulars are all ok.

    I feel so lucky that we have power and that our house is dry. So many people are struggling.

  50. On the original topic, the firm that I worked at had a mandatory retirement age. Most people didn’t seem to quite know what to do when they hit it. Most of the time, they would continue to come into the office, even though they did not have many (or any) firm responsibilities. (This is a bit of a throwback to a bygone era–I expect the days of keeping an office after formal retirement are vanishing.) I overheard one guy say that he and his wife had spent so much time apart over the years that they couldn’t really handle the sudden surge in togetherness and she basically told him he had to find somewhere to be. So I understand the desire to keep active, but I wouldn’t want to find myself in that situation.

    But I also am not drawn to the idea of developing elaborate retirement plans, because there are no guarantees. I’m all for responsible retirement saving, but I try not to otherwise bank too much on particular things happening. I also don’t envision retiring early because we have intentionally chosen jobs that are less remunerative so that we enjoy them more and have time to do things outside of work. So I guess I’m sort of the anti-MMM (other than sharing his dislike for debt).

  51. Finn — I have thought occasionally about bringing on a younger associate, with the idea that s/he could take over the practice some day. But I haven’t pursued this for a number of reasons. I would have to search for the right person; then I would have to train him/her; then I would have to hope that he/she didn’t leave after I had put a lot of time and effort into training him/her; if he/she did leave, I would have to hope that he/she would not try to steal my clients away from me; as an employer, I would have to deal with the personal quirks and issues of my employee; we would have to generate a lot more business for me to cover my employee’s salary and benefits; etc. etc. etc. For these reasons, the thought of bringing someone on seems overwhelming, so I haven’t pursued it with any seriousness.

  52. Houston – was driving all day today and heard the news on CBC and thought of you. So glad you’re okay!

  53. I wish I had come here earlier today.

    Yesterday, I astonished myself by saying in response to an inquiry, “I am retired now.” That was the first literally that I have admitted that.

    I’m in my 60’s but kind of a young retiree (in my eyes at least). It sort of happened by happenstance and necessity, certainly not planning. I could continue to feed off scraps from bigger firms and folks I know, but I don’t want to. I have better things to do. Mostly chauffeuring, cleaning, cooking, tutoring. Tutoring being the most challenging and frustrating. My kid is 14.

    I, of course, want my Lincoln Continental and my place in The Villages, and I fully intend to supervise shuffleboard and irritate all younger people by driving my golf cart to the Publix and listening to Marco Rubio pandering in the Common Room. Unfortunately that’s not the phase I’m in right now. Even though I am retired, I am busier than ever it seems, and also happier.

  54. NoB– any thought to hanging on long enough to see if any kid wants to succeed you?

  55. “I could continue to feed off scraps from bigger firms and folks I know, but I don’t want to.”

    What happened on that helicopter ride?

  56. “As far as I can tell, he watches a lot of financial news and scaremongering on CNN, does some yardwork, and complains about various medical appointments.”

    See, I am afraid that this will be me. I am great at the grand plans, crappy at the execution, easily bored, and irrationally afraid of running out of money. So my theory is we will retire and travel a lot and exercise more and get groceries on Tuesday morning and enjoy off-season travel and all of those “freedom” things I miss with our current schedule. The reality will probably be to take a year or two off to travel and enjoy the newness, then sink into my couch and become bored and pissy and afraid of going anywhere because of how much it costs. So then I will probably need to find some sort of part-time “job” to provide structure and ease my fears and force me to get off my lazy butt.

    At DH’s work, it’s very common to retire (usually in the context of a RIF/buyout) and then come back as a contractor for a specific project or period. I could probably do something like that at my current job — we have one guy who has been on “project” status for years now, taking on cases that he’s interested in, working his butt off on them, and then disappearing for months. That would probably be appealing after a few years away (although he’s a litigator, and I’m a geek, so my specialized geek knowledge can get outdated quickly if I’m not careful). But I don’t know if I could come back to it after leaving — much easier going directly through, which I don’t want to do. And I would really like to do something completely different and right-brain-ey, reactivate those long-dormant brain cells.

  57. We just had an epic fail with summer plans for the kids. They’ve been going to day camp at the Y for years. Because DS is 14, the only option for him this year is “teen camp”, for 12-14 year olds, so they could both go. I was waiting to have my PTO request approved so we’d know which weeks we’d need them to go, and I finally got that yesterday. We went to register them for camp, and there was a note that says the hours for teen camp have changed, so it’s now 9-12 Mondays, 9-4:30 Tuesday-Thursday, and no camp on Fridays, with no before or after care. We’d be willing to let them hang out at home one day a week, but we need to drop them off much earlier than 9, and there’s no way to pick them up at 12 on Mondays. So now we have 6 weeks where we have no place for them to go. Yes, they could stay home alone, but they would just sit around and watch TV and play XBox all day.

  58. My workplace is not one where one can linger on. People at retirement age think through their decision over a period of time and when they decide it’s time, there is a retirement party and off they go. In such a scenario I would have my next step lined up. If I am do to a very part time job elsewhere or volunteer roles those would have to be lined up in advance. I wouldn’t want to go from going to work everyday to sitting on the couch with nowhere to go.

  59. “but they would just sit around and watch TV and play XBox all day.”

    not the worst thing

    some down time and boredom is okay for kids

    I never went to camp in the summer, stayed home all day , watched TV, read, listened to music, rode my bike

  60. Denver – In addition to Xbox and TV, I can look around my house and say that the kitchen could really be repainted and the garage cleaned out. There’s no reason a 14-year-old can’t tackle projects like those.

    I would have been mortified to go to camp at 14.

  61. The reality is that most people when they hit 55 nowadays are not in control of whether they get to keep working for pay at “something they love” or not. If they have assets or a pension, and certain kinds of skills, they can be choosy and find those bursts of interesting paid work to transition to full retirement. If they don’t have all that, or there was a divorce, or a bad illness, or a prior period of unemployment, they don’t “get” to work, they “have” to work at whatever they can find. This is the main external reason for all of the totebag normative delayed gratification and obsessive saving (the self image reasons are something else entirely). I got a kick out of someone above saying that when she is 70 she would consider going to work as a checker just to get out of the house and see people. The 70 year olds I see at the Stop and Shop are working for the money, and they are usually baggers, not more highly paid checkers. Even if you have a little put by, and a house paid for, the property taxes, maintenance and fuel costs can add up, especially if you are not part of a couple with two SS income streams. If you want to get out of the house you can find plenty of ways to do it that don’t involved standing on one’s feet for 6 hours a day for minimum wage.

  62. At 16, I provided all-day daycare for my coach’s 18-month-old son during the two summer weeks that he and his wife, both teachers, were at conferences.

  63. You know, if you don’t watch the movie visuals for “Whole New World” from Aladdin, and just listen to the song, it’s so obviously about sex that I’m surprised no one tried to boycott the movie.

  64. Oh, Rocky! That was awful. You are truly a horrid person! You are so right!

  65. When my D became a teenager, EVERY SINGLE SONG seemed obviously about sex. :D

  66. “I got a kick out of someone above saying that when she is 70 she would consider going to work as a checker just to get out of the house and see people.”

    See, I was thinking of doing this at a marina, be there early to shoot the breeze when the guys come down with their Bass Trackers, work until about lunchtime, then go out on the water.

  67. “This is the main external reason for all of the totebag normative delayed gratification and obsessive saving ” — Certainly applies to me.

  68. I’ve only voted in NY, and our election workers are way beyond retirement age. Is it the same in your states?

    They couldn’t find my name on the signature page today and there weren’t many names because it’s a scanned signature card.

  69. OMG, “Over, sideways and under…. ” I am so pissed at you Rocky. And now I have to go to some damned bar association luncheon. With that song going round and around in my head.

  70. “See, I was thinking of doing this at a marina, be there early to shoot the breeze when the guys come down with their Bass Trackers, work until about lunchtime, then go out on the water.”

    I know a number of old retired guys who volunteer as starters or range officers at local golf courses. Generally gets them free rounds of golf in return for not-that-much volunteering, so it’s a win-win from their perspective.

    If it were just me, I could see doing something like that with a national park — I think they are likely deluged with volunteers, but it would be fun to spend a summer out somewhere in Land O’ Gorgeous Beauty, helping with stuff. Though knowing my luck, that would end up being trash patrol in the midst of the greatest heat wave in 150 years. :-)

  71. Very late to the conversation, but I thought I might comment that hospital jobs sometimes lend themselves to the social retiree. I’ve worked with a number of transportation technicians, food service staff, and ER technicians who used to be professionals of some sort. Before Obamacare, this used to be common for under 65 people to get affordable healthcare, I think.

    In some fields of medicine, there are gracious ways to slowly decrease responsibility. A number of surgeons will partially retire and become first assistants. They scrub in to surgery, lend their expertise, but are not ultimately responsible for outcome. Academic centers also will allow someone to slowly transition to a more teaching and advisor role. The problem is, these things are very poorly paid, if at all. That means, I have worked with a number of physicians in their late 50s and 60s, who did not do a great job, but “needed” to keep working.

    I hope that my husband and I will be able to mostly stop working as soon as our kids complete college. I don’t necessarily expect us to begin drawing down retirement, but hopefully we will have very few bills – no more college or retirement saving, house paid off, etc.

  72. Campground host can be a good summer position for the outdoor retired couple. I think you make some small amount of money, get to park your trailer in a pretty setting, and have pretty low responsibilities. My parents have talked about doing a several times, but have found they are too busy in retirement to sacrifice a whole summer to one campground.

  73. not the worst thing

    some down time and boredom is okay for kids

    I never went to camp in the summer, stayed home all day , watched TV, read, listened to music, rode my bike

    I agree, with “some” being the operative word, and we had already scheduled for that. An additional 6 full weeks of it, while not “the worst thing”, is a pretty crappy way to spend a summer. I had several summers like that and I was bored out of my skull.

    In addition to Xbox and TV, I can look around my house and say that the kitchen could really be repainted and the garage cleaned out. There’s no reason a 14-year-old can’t tackle projects like those.

    I can see maybe two days worth of “projects” we could have him do.

    At 16, I provided all-day daycare for my coach’s 18-month-old son during the two summer weeks that he and his wife, both teachers, were at conferences.

    There’s a big difference between 14 and 16. He was really disappointed when I told him he’s not old enough to get a job.

  74. @DD — that’s really disappointing, especially at the last minute like that. Sorry for your son. They don’t have an “extended day” option? The camps by us do.

  75. “Campground host can be a good summer position for the outdoor retired couple. I think you make some small amount of money, get to park your trailer in a pretty setting, and have pretty low responsibilities.”

    Yes, but I don’t those responsibilities often include bathroom and shower detail?

  76. DD sorry the camp didn’t work out

    I just don’t understand the need for camp for a teen, but the times are different now than when we grew up

  77. LfB, they have extended coverage for their other programs, but this one is at a different location.

    Wine, the problem is if they stay home, there is nothing for them to do. None of their friends live in the neighborhood (and who knows how much they’d be around anyway), there isn’t a pool or rec center they can get to on their own. So they’d be sitting at home by themselves all day. That’s fun for a week, and then it sucks, at least that was my experience doing it.

    They don’t necessarily need a “camp”, they just need something to do.

  78. Denver Dad, our local safety town has 14 year old volunteer group leaders. Would something like that be an option? You can also volunteer as a swim lesson teacher assistant at that age, I think. Does he need to be driven or can he bike/use public transportation? One of my colleagues hired a high school student part time to drive her kids to their summer activities.

  79. DD– Around here, starting at about 14, teens can be “counselors in training.” The ones who do this are first in line for actual paying counselor jobs at 15 or 16 when they get a work permit. I don’t think it costs parents anything, or is marginal, and might be a way to fill a few weeks with work experience and an activity. Not as fun as an activity of their choosing, but working towards paid employment was exciting to me at that age.

  80. DD, is there a library nearby? I think a lot of totebag kids could easily spend hours at the library.

    BTW, 14 is not too young to start prepping for SAT. My kids had almost 4 weeks of unstructured time at home a couple of summers ago. DD walked to the rec center to swim a lot, but DS used some of his time to self-prep for the SAT.

  81. Lots of Denver kids spend all summer at Elitch’s, too. I’d rather spend summer in prison, but some people like amusement parks.

  82. For us, the Y camp works best because their offerings and drop off/pick up times can’t be beat. Other camps have mid afternoon pick up times. This is fine for a week but not possible all summer.

  83. generally speaking, every single song is about sex.

    In college we said the difference between English majors and Lit majors was that the English majors thought all books were about sex and death, while the Lit majors thought they were all about literature.

  84. Denver, have you considered a couple of sleepaway camp sessions to break up the summer? I know you have some cool camps in your area — I looked after my youngest fell in love with Aspen last summer. And going to sleepaway camp as a teen is a different thing from going to day camp.

  85. To answer questions:

    He would need to be driven any place, as would DD. We would like to have to them go to the same place, because it’s hard enough trying to coordinate one dropoff and pickup every day, I’d hate to try to do two.

    He wanted to do a CIT program, but at the Y you need to be 15. We’re still looking for other places, the problem is trying to work out transportation.

    We’ve tried to get him to do an overnight camp or two and he flat out refuses. DD has done a couple, but last year she had to come home early because there was a stomach virus that the camp battled all summer, and she came down with it, so she’s reluctant to go to another one. There’s a great baseball camp in town that I know he’d love, and he refuses to go because he doesn’t want to stay overnight.

    Finn, there’s no way in heck my kids would spend time at the library or doing SAT prep. And the whole point of getting them in some sort of program is so they’ll be active, not sitting around all day.

  86. “generally speaking, every single song is about sex”

    Or cars. Or both:

    I stopped off at the QuickSack for some beer and cigarettes
    The old man took my money as he stared at my Corvette
    He said, “I had one just like her son, in 1963”
    Til’ the man down at the bank took her from me

    Oh she was hotter than a two-dollar pistol
    She was the fastest thing around
    Long and lean, every young man’s dream
    She turned every head in town
    She was built, and fun to handle, son, I’m glad that you dropped in
    She reminds me of the one I loved back then.

    Well I handed him my keys and said, “Here, take her for a spin”
    The old man scratched his head, and then he looked at me and grinned
    He said “Son, you just don’t understand, it ain’t the car I want.
    It’s the brunette in your Vette that turns me on”

    I had one that was hotter than a two-dollar pistol
    She was the fastest thing around
    Long and lean, every young man’s dream
    She turned every head in town
    She was built, and fun to handle, son, I’m glad that you dropped in
    She reminds me of the one I loved back then.

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