Monthly Archives: April 2017

April 16, 2017

Retire and Continue Working in Silver Collar Cities

So you want to continue working after you retire, but you’re afraid that you’re too old to find a decent job? I know the feeling.

Don’t worry. There’s a solution.

So says government research, there are 10 exciting and amazing metro areas in the United States where you’ll absolutely have no problem.

According to the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, they are “silver collar cities.” So-called Silver Collar Cities are where a lot of workers keep working past retirement age. And a common theme is a lot of government employers and schools as well as retired white-collar execs who become consultants. In summary, this table shows where they are and how much of the workforce are retirees who continue working.

  • Washington, DC – 30.2%
  • Anchorage, AK – 28.6%
  • Madison, WI – 28.1%
  • Southern Connecticut (Bridgeport, Stamford, Norwalk) – 27.6%
  • Trenton, NJ – 26%
  • Houston, TX – 25.9%
  • Des Moines, IA – 25.9%
  • Salt Lake City, UT – 25.8%
  • Dallas/Fort Worth, TX – 25.6%
  • Denver, CO – 25.2%

What settings explain why these areas are called Silver Collar Cities? More than 15% of Americans aged 62 or older work. In Washington, D.C. that number is more than 30%.

Keep reading and you’ll find out why.

To Begin With, Federal Workers Retire Later

Joel Reaser is senior vice president at the National Older Worker Career Center in Arlington, Va. First of all, he says “It’s all the retired federal workers.” Federal workers don’t just retire after their public-service career is over at around age 53. Rather, they continue working as consultants or find other careers. And later they might really retire.

Anchorage, Alaska is a constant leader in over-62 workers with about 29% employed. Once again, the government appears to be the reason. According to a 2009 report by the Alaska Labor Department, state and local government employed the highest percentage of Alaskans aged 55 to 64. Their schools reported as much as 15% of their workforce was 65 or older. When you think about it, many people who actually do quit working after age 62 move to warmer climates.

The simple truth is, older folks can’t endure backbreaking work like digging ditches or pounding nails. But government jobs can employ workers for decades after normal retirement age. Some in a program that puts about 700 retirees to work at federal agencies are in their 90s.

Reaser says that “There’s a very large number of retired federal workers that consult and work for federal agencies.” The Department of Defense, he says, “has one of the largest concentrations of contractors.”

Beyond That, There’s The Urban Factor

There is a stark contrast between urban areas and the rest of the country. Census Bureau statistics show that 21% of the population aged 62 or older was employed in the 183 metro areas with populations above 250,000. That compares to 17% nationwide. Those numbers ranged from 30% in Washington to 4% in several Puerto Rican cities.

Why is this so?

Six of the top 10 cities with more than 10,000 workers over the age of 62 were state capitals. Hence, the pull of government. All, except the Bridgeport-Stamford area in Connecticut, had unemployment rates among retirement-age workers who wish to remain in the workforce below the national average of 9.1%.

What Does Weather Have to Do With the Trend to Continue Working?

Except for Houston and Dallas, all were north of the Mason-Dixon line. Miami and most other Florida cities showed 20% or less of retirement-age people still working. This is a trend that held in retiree-heavy Arizona as well.

As has been noted, retirement means retirement in those sunny locales.

It all boils down to this:

Would you be comfortable moving (if you have to) to one of these metro areas to continue working? This could be your solution to the fears about your age.


Retire and Continue Working in Silver Collar Cities