Retire While Working

Want an easy way to get your resources to stretch even further in retirement?

Work part-time while you’re collecting Social Security.

That’s PART-time — not the 40-hrs-or-more-a-week you used to put in as a working stiff. Just one or two days a week will not only add to your income, but done with care, won’t affect your Social Security benefits at all.

It all starts with determining retirement age…which depends on the year you were born. What’s full retirement age for you? Check this handy chart. But for purposes of illustration, this article will use “Fred,” a 58-year-old born in 1954. Fred can start collecting Social Security when he’s 62 — but his monthly benefit amount will be reduced:

  • at age 62, he’ll get 75% of the monthly benefit
  • at age 65, he’ll get 93.3% of the monthly benefit

But what if he’s putting in a few days of work a week, while he’s collecting early retirement? It won’t affect his Social Security benefits at all, provided he stays under $14,640 a year — a little more than $1000 monthly. Any higher, and Social Security will deduct $1 from the benefits check for each $2 earned.

The nicest part of all: if Fred can hold off collecting benefits until full retirement age (in his case, 66 years old), he can work as much as he wants — and still keep his full Social Security benefit.

This can get a little confusing — which is why Social Security has a long and comprehensive page full of Q&A on the subject. Some examples, too. (AARP also has a helpful site.) And there are some picky details worth noting. For example, if you’re working for wages, the money is counted when you earn it — not when you’re paid. If you’re self-employed, though, you only count the money when you actually receive it. Do your homework, and study the options before you make any final decisions.

This post is by Staff Writer Cindy Brick. You can read more of her writing at or her personal blog.






5 responses to “Retire While Working”

  1. Awesome! I’m too young for Social Security, but have moved in the direction proposed: I work three part-time jobs: One is volunteer (at local carsharing cooperative), one is traditional paid employment (15 hours/week of contract work), and one is this money blog thing I’m trying to get going. Makes for an interesting–and busy!–life. Helpful to think about how to factor Social Security into the mix, when the time comes.

  2. Glad we could help, Kurt — thanks for visiting.

  3. Cindy — it works!! My husband and I are working at small, fun stuff as we move into retirement/ It really makes a BIG difference to be actively engaged in something that you really like to do. I’ve found that blogging and writing eBooks is personally satisfying. I also think it is a good idea, in general, to always be bringing in some money, since it can be a real disaster if a financial crisis occurs and you are on a small income. Thanks for the help — drop by and visit by blog. I would love your comments and ideas. Could you write an article?

  4. My mother has to do this to pay for her supplemental insurance. It’s outrageous what medicare won’t cover. This leads to more and more seniors having to work instead of truly retiring.

  5. Very helpful article. In fact, this is what we are doing. I would rather work than sit at home and do nothing. Yes, most of us are going to have to find something else to do, to afford medical care. my husband and I are moving to Ecuador because of this reason, but that is a big jump for many people. Meanwhile, I invited readers to follow our retirement adventures on our website, The Retirement Monologues. Thanks.