While the word “retirement” doesn't usually conjure up images of a career change, many older workers are finding that after leaving their jobs, they are hungry to begin working somewhere else — and need the extra cash and benefits. More and more companies are eager to have them as workers, as NBC's Campbell Brown reports.
After 30 years as an appliance salesman, Dick Kiefer decided it was time to enjoy his hobbies — like fixing up his favorite car.
But it wasn't long before Kiefer had a change of heart.
“When I retired at 62, I ran out of things to do and the rocking chair wasn't something I was accustomed to,” said Kiefer.
He was also facing financial challenges. “I ran out of my Cobra insurance,” he said.
Without an ongoing retirement plan, Kiefer set out looking for a job that would blend his interests with his need for benefits.
He landed at the Home Depot, which has partnered up with AARP to recruit “mature workers.”
“He said, you've got 30 years in your background, you're hired,” said Kiefer. “And this was on a Friday, and he said, ‘Can you start Monday?’ And I started Monday.”
The company is one of several businesses that are realizing the advantages of older workers.
“Great energy, great work ethic, and a great opportunity to bring skilled mentors into the store for some of our younger workers who don't have a lot of experience,” said Kim Marie Schulze, a Des Moines Home Depot manager.
It's estimated that by the year 2010, almost one in three workers will be at least 50 years old. Companies like the Home Depot are attracting them by offering benefits for part-time employees.
“A lot of seniors like myself do not have an ongoing retirement program and do not have an ongoing insurance program, and as you get older you need it,” said Kiefer.
But while Kiefer may have come for the benefits, he stays for a lot of reasons.
“I'm a people person. I'm not one to be by myself,” he said. ”Being in retail sales, that’s my business. To be with people and do things for people and help people out. I enjoy my work. It's a great life.”
And it's great having a little extra cash to spend on his grandkids.