June 25, 2024

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3 people on working into their 90s and 100s

2 min read

More Americans are now working past 75 than ever. 

It’s a shift that comes as the oldest baby boomers near their 80s, and better health care enables many older adults to extend their working lives. 

This group might be a fraction of the workforce, but it’s the fastest-growing slice. 

In 2002, about 5% of people over age 75 were working in the U.S. — by 2022, that share had jumped to 8%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. By 2032, the Labor Department expects that 1 in 10 people over 75 will continue to work, even as the share of younger workers remains flat or decreases slightly over the same period. 

Many Americans are working into their 70s and 80s — or longer — because of longer life spans, changing attitudes about retirement and insufficient savings. Others simply say they enjoy what they do, and never contemplated giving it up.

CNBC Make It recently asked three people who have continued to work into their 90s to share their best advice for building a long, happy career. Here’s what they said: 

Turn your hobby into a career 

Jayne Burns at her 100th birthday party last summer

Photo: Elizabeth HusVar

Jayne Burns, who turned 101 in July, has had the same part-time job as a fabric cutter at Joann Fabric and Crafts store in Mason, Ohio for 26 years. 

The centenarian tried retiring several times from her career as a bookkeeper throughout her 70s and 80s, then would “unretire” just a few months later, taking part-time jobs at veterinarian offices and accounting firms. 

“I like the routine, I like to keep moving,” she says. 

Burns, who has sewn for most of her life, started as a customer at Joann. She quickly built a rapport with the store’s employees and enjoyed recommending different fabrics to other shoppers. 

In 1997, just a few months after her husband Dick died, a fabric cutter position opened at the store. Her daughter, Donna Burns, was working at the store part-time and recommended her for the role, thinking it might be a welcome distraction…

2023-11-25 10:30:00

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