Four days a week, Ed Berger makes the familiar commute into Boston, Mass., where he works in the office that bears his name.
As a pension appraiser and qualified domestic relations order preparer at Ed Berger & Company, Ed's spent the better part of four decades building his career. Ed says he can't imagine not working.
"My mother worked as a secretary for most of her life," says Ed. "You get a lot of values from your parents, even when you don't realize you're getting them. The lesson I got was 'keep working.'"
Part of a growing trend
Ed's not alone. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, men and women working past the traditional retirement age are the fastest growing segment in the workforce. Labor force participation among 65- to 74-year-olds is expected to reach 32% by 2022, up from 20% in 2002.
"Many people are embracing the possibilities of what they can do past 65," says Dorian Mintzer, Ph.D., a Boston-based retirement transitions coach and coauthor of The Couple's Retirement Puzzle. "Work can provide a sense of accomplishment, purpose, and meaning, all essential components of well-being."
In early 2017, Ed and his wife Linda moved from their home of 47 years in Beverly to Brooksby Village, the Erickson Living community in Peabody. As a continuing care retirement community, Brooksby offers independent living, assisted care, and long-term care.
The move gave Ed and Linda the peace of mind that, should their health care needs ever change, they'll have access to comprehensive health care right on campus.
Meanwhile, Ed says their new lifestyle in independent living at Brooksby integrates nicely with his work schedule.
"After I get home from work, Linda and I go for dinner in one of Brooksby's restaurants," says Ed. "It's a good system."
Jerry Rosen is another Brooksby resident who heads to work four days a week. He's a program assistant at Salem State University's Enterprise Center.
"I started working at Salem State in 1968, supervising student teachers," says Jerry. "When I retired in 1999, the dean [of the School of Education] asked if I'd consider working in community enrichment. I said I'd stay if I could choose my own hours."
These days, Jerry works 20 hours each week—5 hours a day, 4 days a week.
"I love the flexible hours because I can arrange my schedule around activities that interest me at Brooksby," says Jerry, who moved to the Peabody community in late 2017.
For many working seniors, flexibility is key to enjoying a work-life balance past 65.
"So often in our early working years, we have to squeeze life into work," says Mintzer. "Now many people who are working past the traditional retirement age are finding ways to fit work into life."
Doing what he loves
For Jerry, the option to continue working offers countless benefits.
"It energizes me," he says. "It gives structure to my week. It allows me to be part of something I enjoy."
And now that he's made a new home at Brooksby, Jerry is finding even more ways to embrace life.
"I lived in my home in Swampscott for 53 years and briefly considered a move to condo when I was thinking about downsizing," says Jerry. "I realized that I didn't want to move to a condo and then move to Brooksby three or four years later. I'm so glad I made the decision I did. Brooskby is a delightful place to be."
Jerry chose a two-bedroom Hastings-style apartment, which he calls a "miniature version of my house."
"I look forward to coming back to my apartment after work," he says. "I haven't had a bad meal [at Brooksby] yet, and there are so many choices of activities."
"Jerry has a wonderful history with Salem State University," says Jane Kiegel, sales counselor at Brooksby. "He continues to love his job and does it with enthusiasm. He brings that same passion for living here to Brooksby, and he's a great example of what it means to redefine retirement."
On Thursdays, when Jerry returns to Brooksby after work, he makes a point of stopping by the community's Treasure Chest, an on-site resale shop.
"I'm always finding new treasures," he says. "Someday when I do retire, I may just volunteer in the Treasure Chest."