July 2, 2014

Employees staying in workforce longer

ABERDEEN, S.D. — Like a number of senior citizens in the workforce today, Gert McBurney has thought about settling into the full retirement stage of her life, but, for now, she’s content with her part-time gig at McDonald’s.

“I think about retiring, but I don’t know what I would do with myself,” McBurney, of Aberdeen, S.D., said. “As long as I can still get around, I think I’ll be working. I like being around people, and I really like the people I work with.”

Though she’ll turn 80 in December, McBurney still possesses a zest for life, partly, she said, because of the fact she keeps herself busy at the restaurant and she enjoys working and interacting with people of all ages.

“I really like working with the young people we have here; it keeps me feeling young,” McBurney said. “Somebody took me for a ride a number of years ago, so I’m still paying down loans, but, even if money wasn’t an issue at all, I think I’d still be working somewhere.”


Figuring out if and when to retire is a decision that is more complex today than ever before thanks to factors such as America’s robust and aging baby boomer demographic, the nation’s economic uncertainty and longer life expectancies.

During his presentation at a workforce summit in Aberdeen on June 4, Drexel University professor and labor market expert Paul Harrington said researchers are witnessing a trend where workers who are 55-plus have been staying in the workforce longer and planning for additional years working in the wake of the 2007 recession.

Determining what exactly retirement age is, however, can be tricky. While the American Association of Retired Persons has a membership cutoff age of 50, Americans aren’t eligible to begin receiving Social Security benefits until age 62, according to the Social Security Administration’s website.

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