People are starting to redefine retirement from a time of total leisure to a time for more leisure with work still occupying part of their time. Some continue working out of financial necessity. Others work to keep busy or because they enjoy working. If you’re retired and are considering going back to work, answer these questions first:
Will You Earn Enough to Make Working Financially Worthwhile?
Calculate how much you’ll earn after paying taxes and work-related expenses. Consider whether the additional income will increase your marginal tax bracket or disqualify you from certain tax deductions or credits. Don’t forget to consider work-related expenses.
Will Your Earnings Affect Your Social Security Benefits?
If you are full retirement age or older, you can earn any amount of income without reducing your Social Security benefits. However, individuals between the ages of 62 and full retirement age lose $1 of benefits for every $2 of earnings over $17,040 in 2018. Additional income could make a portion of your Social Security benefits taxable. Up to 50% of benefits are subject to federal income taxes if adjusted gross income plus nontaxable interest plus one-half of Social Security benefits exceeds $25,000 for single taxpayers and $32,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly. 85% of Social Security benefits are subject to federal income taxes if that income exceeds $34,000 for single taxpayers and $44,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly.
Are You Approaching Age 70 ½?
If so, going back to work may prevent you from having to take minimum distributions from your 401(k) or other employer plan. You will, however, have to start taking distributions from traditional IRAs.
Are You Thinking About Starting a Business?
Many retirees choose to turn a hobby or work experience into a business venture. If you do, be careful not to deplete your retirement savings to fund the business. Find other sources for funding.
Do You Know Why You are Going Back to Work?
Be realistic about what you can expect from your new job. If it’s just a part-time job to keep you busy, you probably won’t have as much responsibility as you were used to at prior jobs.