01You Miss Having a Job
In theory, everyone looks forward to retirement. Time to pursue hobbies, to take long trips, to spend time with the grandchildren — what could be better? In reality, some people quickly become bored with retirement. Perhaps they crave the structure and the purpose that having a job provides. Perhaps they miss the social contacts. Others miss the challenges of employment, of learning new skills and adapting to changing trends.
Whatever your situation, there's no shame in admitting that you're not really cut out for retirement. If you're lucky, you'll have more options to consider than you did before retirement. You may be able to work on a contract basis, opt for part-time or work from home at least part of the time. You may decide to work in an entirely different field. More about that later.
02You Can't Handle the Togetherness
Some describe retirement as "half as much money, twice as much husband." That's a funny line, but it's also true for many. Not all retirees have a spouse or partner, but for those who do, having twice as much time with a partner can be challenging.
Sometimes retirement exposes marriage flaws that already existed. The couple may have just been too busy to address them. In the relative lull of retirement, the flaws become obvious and may seem insurmountable. In other cases, robbed of their usual (work) pursuits, partners seem intent on driving each other crazy. One party may decide to re-organize the household, to "fix" what the other partner has been doing wrong.
Sometimes the stress is enough that couples split up. Even grandparents may get divorced. Is it any wonder that some couples simply decide it is better if one of them goes back to work?
03You Want to Try Something New
Did you ever feel that you missed out on your true calling? Many people do. Some of them come out of retirement to pursue what some are calling an "encore career."
Sometimes these new careerists are following up on a long-standing interest, one that they never had a chance to explore. Sometimes they have found a new passion. Many individuals decide to finally scratch that itch of owning their own business.
In second careers, money is not always the major draw. Many times encore careerists choose helping careers or creative endeavors from which they derive personal satisfaction.
Retirees can make significant money with an encore career, but they can also end up losing money if they invest too heavily in what turns out to be a losing proposition. If their idea for a second career requires a significant investment, they should seek financial advice, budget carefully and have an exit strategy if the dollar drain proves to be too heavy.
04You've Suffered a Financial Setback
Gone are the days when people socked away their savings in their mattresses. Today almost everyone with retirement funds is invested in the stock market or in other somewhat volatile investments. That means that financial setbacks are a possibility, as many of those hurt in the crash of 2008 can attest.
The pension as a financial entity has practically disappeared, replaced in most cases by a 401k retirement account. That's fine in most cases, but a 401k can be mismanaged in ways that a pension can't.
Financial setbacks can come in other forms, too. Natural disasters, medical crises, automobile accidents, roofs that need to be replaced, appliances that fail — such events can deliver a significant hit. And such events don't always come singly. Sometimes circumstances that would be manageable by themselves come in droves.
The bottom line is that many times people who thought their retirement would be financially secure find themselves on shaky grounds and need to go back to work.
05You Didn't Budget Enough for Medical Expenses
Many people blithely assume that once they are covered by Medicare, they will have to spend little or nothing for medical care. That is a misconception. Medicare was never intended to cover all medical expenses. Currently it covers around 60% of an average person's costs. Supplementary insurance covers some of the remainder, but retirees should plan on paying a significant percentage out of pocket.
A 2012 study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute estimated that a couple retiring at 65 would need over a quarter of a million dollars to cover their medical bills. Actually, that figure is for 90% coverage of their bills, and it applies to a couple with "median" prescription drug expenses. For many, the tab is likely to be significantly higher.
Why are covered individuals racking up such totals? Blame deductibles, co-pays, uncovered treatments and associated expenses such as travel to and from medical facilities. Prescription drugs are often to blame, especially with the coverage gap known as the donut hole. The Affordable Care Act contained provisions for the gradual elimination of this plague of seniors, but the future of the ACA remains shaky. If you retired with minimum savings, you may witness your savings shrinking so rapidly that going back to work seems like the only logical course.
06You Want to Help a Family Member in Need
Just as life can throw you a curve, it can do the same for someone near and dear to you. If a family member suffers a catastrophic illness or other loss, as a retired person you may not be able to help out financially as much as possible. Going back to work may enable you to help your family member weather the storm.
On the other hand, don't overlook the services that you may be able to render as a retired person that you may not be able to do if you are employed. In the case of a family member with cancer or other serious illness, you may be able to hospital-sit, provide transportation to and from medical appointments and help out with housework and cooking. Many times these services have real financial value as well as taking a load off the affected family.
07You Planned a Reverse Retirement
If you retired early with the expectation of going back to work later in life, you are a trend-setter. The idea of a reverse retirement is just beginning to gain traction among some populations.
Reverse retirement involves living below your means as a young person and saving up enough money to take a period of years off from work, predicated on the expectation of going back to work at some point. The main attraction of reverse retirement is having job-free years while one is healthy enough to enjoy the time off. Unlike those who take early retirement, reverse retirees don't strive to have enough money to last their entire lifespan as the plan is to go back to work. For example, one might plan to work until 45, take five years off, and return to work at 50.
Clearly, reverse retirement won't work for some individuals, such as those with a lot of children to put through school or those with low-paying jobs that don't allow for significant savings. Also, some careers aren't easy to re-enter. But for a select few, reverse retirement can be a ticket to mid-life adventure without late-life poverty.