What You Need to Know about Working after Retirement

Senior woman continuing work into retirement

These days, many seniors are working after retirement. They continue to work and collect social security benefits, often as a means of earning extra income or staying active and engaged in a working community.

While continuing to work has benefits, there are earning limitations that may affect your social security benefits.

Before getting that new job, it’s important to understand the nuances of working while collecting early retirement benefits.

Here are some important things to consider as you plan for working after retirement.

Analyze your early retirement needs

Once you’re in your sixties, you may decide to retire early and start receiving your social security benefits. The earliest you can do this is age 62. But keep in mind that drawing on your benefits before you reach full retirement age of 66 may reduce the benefits you receive in the future.

As part of your retirement planning, take a close look at your current finances and decide if receiving benefit payments early is the wisest choice.

Consider this: if you can work until age 70, you will get a guaranteed additional 8 percent on your monthly payouts. To put that in perspective, as Suze Orman points out, “You’re lucky to find a bank account that pays 2 percent annually.”

Ultimately, the longer you can delay tapping into your monthly benefits, the better your payoff will be later on when you need it most.

Working without retirement benefits

Can you access other income options before tapping into your social security benefits? Maybe part time work with flexible hours will enable you to postpone early retirement benefits for now.  

The key is to keep your future social security checks as strong as possible.

If you do need to draw on your social security benefits early, understand that there’s an annual limit to your earnings.

What is the extra income limit?

If you do draw on social security benefits earlier than full retirement age, be aware that the Social Security Administration (SSA) sets a limit for how much an early retiree can earn without affecting their benefits. As of 2019, that amount is $17,640.

For example, if you work part time or full time and earn more than the allowed amount, the SSA will withhold $1 out of every $2 over the $17,640 limit. Keep in mind, there are conditions that determine how totals are calculated (such as the time of year you start receiving benefits and the monthly amount you earn for the remainder of the year).

As an early retiree, before you commit to a new position, talk to your financial adviser. In the meantime, for an instant view of how extra income may affect your social security payments, you can do an income check with the SSA earnings calculator.

Working after retirement and enjoying the benefits


To get the most out of retirement, thoughtful financial planning plays an important role. While taking early retirement benefits may seem like a good (or necessary) option, future benefits may decrease.

Additionally, extra income you earn that exceeds the allowed early retirement threshold will result in reduced payment amounts (however, upon reaching full retirement age, the SSA will recalculate benefits and credit any withheld early-retirement funds).

You can access more details on early retirement benefits in the SSA “How Work Affects Your Benefits” brochure.


Need help planning for your retirement? Our retirement team can answer all your early- and full -retirement questions.

Call: 877.255.6273