Diminishing employment opportunities notwithstanding, 9.5 million retired Americans are considering returning to work at least part-time, according to a study by Charles Schwab. Also, 32% of currently employed Americans expect to hold onto their jobs and delay retirement.

Both choices carry significant implications and require careful planning. “The situation many Americans have found themselves in illustrates the importance of long-term retirement planning,” said Rich Rosso, a financial consultant at Charles Schwab’s Houston branch. “There are also a host of things people can consider to help smooth the ride.”

Clients who are thinking about rejoining the workforce should consider stopping Social Security payments until after they stop working permanently, Rosso said. Clients can suspend benefits and repay what they have already received, according to the Social Security Administration. In this way they can earn credits that increase their future benefit amount. Second, some expenses related to job hunting are tax deductible, so long as their total exceeds 2% of the job seeker’s current income. Potentially eligible expenses include employment agency fees, resume preparation, phone calls and transportation, Rosso said.

Individuals approaching age 70-1/2will need to start taking required minimum distributions from their traditional IRAs, making a client’s 70th birthday an excellent time to review a portfolio. Retirees should also review all the types of insurance that they buy.

Schwab also spelled out strategies for workers who are planning to delay retirement. Clients who participate in 401(k) programs at work should continue contributing the maximum amount eligible for the company match, at the very least. “Don’t turn your back on what is essentially free money,” Rosso said. Work with clients to reduce debt, starting with balances on unsecured credit cards and auto loans. Also, clients might consider paying off their mortgage if they plan to stay in their current homes for at least another 10 years. Finally, workers who delay retirement should expand their three- to six-month emergency fund to cover at least two years of living expenses for retirement, Rosso said.

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