For many, retirement is the ultimate goal after decades of work, however, a portion of retirees “reverse” retirement and rejoin the workforce. According to a Federal Reserve Board study, one-third of retirees return to work on either a full or part-time basis. Is retirement not all that it’s cracked up to be or are seniors in need of additional income?

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Why are retirees returning to work?

Of workers aged 65 or older, 40% had previously retired at some point, according to a 2019 report from Rand Corporation, but you may be surprised by the reason why. According to a Federal Reserve study, the reasoning is actually dependent on income levels. People in the lowest income percentile return to work to make more income while people in the highest income percentile want to put their life skills to use and make a few extra dollars, too.

The pandemic has impacted retirement

Unfortunately, retirement came early for millions of Baby Boomers in the U.S. thanks to the pandemic. According to Pew Research Center, typically two million seniors have retired each year since 2011, but between the third quarter of 2019 and the third quarter of 2020, that number increased to 3.2 million. So, why the huge influx? For some, the choice to retire was forced due to unemployment, but for others the risk of coronavirus wasn’t worth staying employed. No matter the means, some people may not have been financially or emotionally ready to retire early. Luckily for retirees, gig work like Uber, InstaCart and others offer an easy way to rejoin the workforce and feel fulfilled.

Gig work is a flexible solution

Following retirement, it may be difficult to return to a traditional job due to age discrimination. Sadly, a survey by AARP found 78% of older workers saw or experienced age discrimination in 2020. Gig work, or being an independent contractor, is an excellent alternative to the typical 9 to 5 job. Not only does it allow you to work on your own terms like when, where and how long you want to work, but you can also choose a job that plays to your skills. If you’re a people person and enjoy chatting with others, ridesharing would be a great fit. If you prefer a job where you can enjoy time alone, grocery delivery could be the job for you.

How to successfully join the gig economy

When joining the gig economy, there are a few key differences from traditional jobs that are important to note. First, as an independent contractor your taxes aren’t withdrawn from the money you make like they are as a W-2 employee. This means that come tax time, you’re responsible for calculating and paying the taxes you owe, so it’s important to set aside a portion of your income to prepare for future payments. Next, you’ll incur expenses as a gig worker, but you also may be able to deduct some of them, too., To make a deduction you need to keep a thorough record of your expenses so it’s important to keep up with documentation. Finally, if you’re transporting food or people, you’ll need to check in with your personal car insurance to see what is covered while you’re on the job. If your insurance doesn’t   cover incidents, you’ll need to secure a form of insurance like Rideshare to make sure you’re covered.

Retirement is no longer the final act it once was. If you’re feeling unfulfilled or could use an additional source of income, the flexibility of gig work could be the perfect way to reenter the work force on your terms.


Wayne Goshkarian is the Director of Communications for Scottsdale-based Association for Entrepreneurship USA, where he assists entrepreneurs nationwide with creating, establishing and expanding their businesses. In addition to AFEUSA, Goshkarian is the forward-thinking founder of Dylan Consulting and is known for bringing the slow changing insurance industry cutting-edge technology.