15 Types of People Who Can Never Truly Retire

For some, the idea of slowing down in retirement is simply not an option.

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Updated July 18, 2024
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Are you among the many people who hope to have your retirement funded as soon as possible so you can travel the world, spoil grandkids, or just spend your days chatting with friends? 

For some, retiring early is desirable. For others, retirement is out of the question. Perhaps they don't want to retire, or financial constraints make it difficult to give up a steady paycheck.

Check out the types of people who can never truly retire, and find out if you're one of them.

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People who didn’t save enough money

EuStock/Adobe stay bored in office room

Let's be frank here. A recent Charles Schwab survey found that many Americans believe they need aboot $1.8 million saved before they can retire.

Do you have enough put aside to retire? If you didn't start saving soon enough or put enough away over your working years, chances are good you will be unable to retire anytime soon.

People who enjoy working

Stock 4 You/Adobe trader using laptop computer

Do you enjoy going to work and doing what you do? According to a recent survey from Pew Research, nearly half of all Americans are very satisfied with their jobs.

If you genuinely like the work you do, getting up every day is much less of a chore. At the same time, working may be what you want to do rather than spending your days on the golf course.

People who enjoy the social aspect of work

Jeff Bergen/peopleimages.com/Adobe group of businesspeople exchanging gifts

It's not just the actual work that keeps people going back and forth to work each day, but the people involved.

It's the social capital the workplace provides, including connections to other workers and customers. That social capital can even benefit mental health in some people.

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People who need a set schedule

Drazen/Adobe consultations with multiracial couple

Another interesting reason why you may not mind that commute each day or the complaining customers is that it feels normal. That is, you may like the steady, routine schedule.

Weekends are great, and time off is needed now and then, but for many people, there's a positive feeling about getting back to the grind Monday morning because they need and thrive on a set schedule. Retirement could throw that off significantly.

People who don’t qualify for Social Security

fizkes/Adobe older clients consulting agent

Social Security is a critical financial tool for many retirees, but it's not always available to everyone.

If you didn't pay into Social Security long enough, didn't work long enough, or didn't meet the citizenship requirements, you may not be able to tap into this financial resource.

People who get bored easily

fizkes/Adobe feeling sad morning

For some people, that "to-do" list for retirement is exceedingly long and filled with learning new things, exploring the world, or tackling at-home projects. For others, boredom sets in fast.

If you have nothing to do, you may slip into the mentality and feeling that you're irrelevant. That first month or so of retirement may be great, but what will you do with your time?

People who haven’t built the legacy they want to leave behind

opolja/Adobe deep in thought while sitting

Many people focus on retirement as a way to enjoy their lives, but for others, the goal is to build wealth that lasts, something you can pass down to the next generation in your family.

If this is valuable to you, you may find it nearly impossible to achieve if you haven't saved or invested well throughout your working years. Working in retirement, even part-time, can help you accomplish this goal.

People who don’t enjoy spending time with their spouse

Tasneem H/peopleimages.com/Adobe together at home

The reality is that seeing someone each day for a few hours is much different than spending every waking minute with that person.

That's worsened when your expectations for retirement differ or when you enjoy different things. You may still love this person, but retirement means spending more time with them.

People who enjoy volunteering

Halfpoint/Adobe community service concept

For many people, volunteering is a form of work (especially if you're regularly putting a full day of work into it). Giving up on volunteering doesn't seem like something you want to do.

Volunteer work helps people in various ways, including supporting mental health by combating stress and fighting off boredom. For some, the thought of giving up this type of work isn't beneficial.

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Let’s say you put $50,000 into a high yield account at 5.00% APY at 30-years-old. Then, you contribute $5,000 a year, every year, until age 50. With interest compounding daily at that rate, you’d walk away with $303,466.67! But … if you start at age 45, you’d only have $91,898.37.

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People who didn’t plan for inflation

fizkes/Adobe calculating domestic expenses

Inflation has skyrocketed in recent years, and that’s worrisome, to say the least. It also impacts retirement.

If you fail to save enough for retirement to account for inflation, leaving the workforce could be difficult. 

In 2022, inflation rose an average of 8% for the year. That’s a significant kick in anyone’s retirement plans. You may need to keep working to boost your bank account.

People who enjoy managing investments

Prostock-studio/Adobe working at home office

Stocks and bonds, house flipping, or property rentals are all ways to help build a retirement nest egg. For some people, they are also a sense of pride and joy.

If you've been successful in these areas, you may not want to retire completely. You may not want to put down the hammer or stop analyzing potential companies to invest in.

People who started a new career later in life

Leon Waltz/Adobe smiling woman at farmers market

Are you among the many people who decided to switch careers in the middle of life, perhaps in your 50s or later? If so, retirement might be a bit further down the road.

While you could be well-off and enjoying life in retirement, some people find that a newer career like this is refreshing and meaningful to them. If you just started a new career, you may not be ready to say you've done all you wanted to do just yet.

People who spend without a budget

(JLco) Julia Amaral/Adobe woman holding a credit card

One of the hardest parts of retirement is managing a budget and living within your means (to help stretch out those retirement funds). Yet, retirement can be a challenge for those who don’t like to budget.

If you're spending more than you make right now, that’s going to make it nearly impossible for you to retire anytime soon. Learning to stop wasting money could significantly improve your financial situation.

People unsure of how they will pay for health care in retirement

Goran/Adobe plan of care and medications

You may know you have access to Medicare once you reach a certain age, but what if that's not enough? Research from Fidelity found that, in 2023, a person retiring at age 65 needs about $157,500 saved to cover their health care expenses.

If you haven't done that or thought about long-term health care, retirement will be challenging.

People who are drowning in debt

fizkes/Adobe overspending money at internet shopping

This is another hard-hitting reality for many people who want to retire. They simply have too much debt to do so. Research from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College found that 63% of American households over the age of 65 carry debt.

Too much debt can delay retirement. You may need to continue working, so crush your debt immediately.

Bottom line

Kateryna/Adobe online virtual meeting using computer

If you don’t want to give up working because you like what you do, consider consulting. If socialization is a factor, you may be able to find new avenues for building relationships. 

For those behind financially, your goals may be harder to reach, but making extra money and hiring a financial advisor could help you inch closer to them.

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Author Details

Sandy Baker

Sandy Baker is a has over 17 years of experience in the financial sector. Her experience includes website content, blogs, and social media. She’s worked with companies such as Realtor.com, Bankrate, TransUnion, Equifax, and Consumer Affairs.