My Florida friend Fred retired some seven years ago while he was still in his 60s. He says he's never been happier and has no intention of ever going back to work. "Why should I? I now have the opportunity to do what I want, when I want. I can spend a half hour cleaning out the dog's bowl if I want." And Fred is kept busy with his gardening, golfing, food shopping, and of course, cleaning the dog's bowl.

Burt Fred is perhaps a little different from most. According to a recent Associated Press-Ipsos poll, some 63 percent of those surveyed said they would probably work after they returned. The primary reason for doing so? Interestingly enough, it's not about money. They just want to keep busy. Incidentally, 56 percent are currently married.

Actually, the poll says that "staying busy" was number one, with "to make ends meet" and "to have enough money for extras," running behind.

Of course, everybody does it differently. Some people really want to stay in the work force and so they work well past retirement age, or they reduce to part-time or retiring and then opting for a new job, preferably one that is less stressful than before, has fewer hours, and consequently, less money.

It's been reported that many people studying this retirement pattern from academia believe that people retire in stages so that it becomes a process instead of an earth-shattering event.

The Rand Corporation has done a study of retirees and discovered that 50 percent of them who did retire remained in that category after five years but 25 percent had gone back to work whether part- or full-time. The remaining 25 percent either partially retired and kept working or retired in what are called stages: first partially, then fully.

Incidentally, men are more likely to first retire and then return to work.

Of course, there are many factors that go into any retirement mode. Keep in mind that people are living longer now. You've got a life expectancy of about 78 years which is a full 10 years more than it was in 1955.

When people do go back to work, where are they going? According to the survey, most wind up in retail, service, and health care.

Me? I'll provably put on that blue jacket with the big yellow smiley button and greet people at the door. And, what's wrong with that?

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