Ease on Down the Road to Retirement

Want to keep working, just not as hard? A phased retirement may just be the answer.

An older man rides an electric scooter down the walk outside an office sky-rise.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

You may have spent decades saving for retirement, waiting for the day when you could step back from long hours at work and do what you want with your time. But stopping work entirely can be difficult, especially if you love certain aspects of your job. Phasing into retirement — continuing to work part-time, even for just a fraction of your original salary — can provide the perfect balance and make a big difference in your retirement security. The option is increasingly popular: A 2023 survey by Principal Financial found that more than half of workers want to gradually reduce their hours before they eventually stop working.

Flexible retirement can look very different from person to person, depending on the semi-retiree’s preferences and career type. Some people retire from their full-time job and do consulting work in a related field or contract work for their former employer. Others switch to another type of work — taking a part-time job with a nonprofit or a business they’ve always been interested in, for example, or exploring flexible gig work.

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Kimberly Lankford
Contributing Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

As the "Ask Kim" columnist for Kiplinger's Personal Finance, Lankford receives hundreds of personal finance questions from readers every month. She is the author of Rescue Your Financial Life (McGraw-Hill, 2003), The Insurance Maze: How You Can Save Money on Insurance -- and Still Get the Coverage You Need (Kaplan, 2006), Kiplinger's Ask Kim for Money Smart Solutions (Kaplan, 2007) and The Kiplinger/BBB Personal Finance Guide for Military Families. She is frequently featured as a financial expert on television and radio, including NBC's Today Show, CNN, CNBC and National Public Radio.