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On Aging: Why do some people work at older ages, while others do not?

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“Answers to this question often focus on economic and social realities such as job availability, financial insecurity, family commitments, and worker health. But these explanations, while important, tell only part of the story.

People make decisions about working longer for many reasons not explained by economic and social realities. Some people, for example, may feel motivated to continue using their skills and abilities to contribute to society in a meaningful way; others may see their work as an opportunity to learn new things or to stay socially connected.

While #retirement is often seen as a numbers-driven decision that people make by balancing the labor market and personal finances, ..it is not that cut and dried.

Like any decision made by humans, the decision to work longer or to retire is the result of a dynamic interplay of person and environmental factors that influence skills, self perception, and motivation. Acknowledging these nuances, and embracing the idea that older workers can continue to develop throughout their careers allows for a less fatalistic approach to working longer, in which *organizations* can take ownership over what they can do to influence decisions to work longer.”

From their research paper, ‘The Psychology of Working Longer’ by Professor Margaret Beier, and Meghan Davenport, included in the book ‘Overtime’ edited by Professor Lisa F Berkman of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and Beth Truesdale!


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