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And now many people who were looking forward to their retirements are now getting back into the work force.
It's a simple equation -- rising costs plus longer lives equals declining retirement incomes. It's an outcome many older Americans just can't afford, which has them returning to work in unprecedented numbers.
Comforting and caring for babies is not how Juanita Bennetsen envisioned her retirement.
"I love volunteering," she said.
After Bennetsen's husband of 55 years passed away and his pension ran out, the 76-year-old knew she needed more than Social Security.
"I needed to do something to bring in something to bring in some kind of an income to supplement what I was already bringing in," she said.
So she went back to work at nearby child care center.
"This is my bonus," she said as she held one of the children she watches.
Even with the emotional bonus, Bennestsen's job meets a financial reality.
"Now I'm not working just for the social end of it," she said. "I'm working because I have to work."
The Katy grandmother is like a growing number of retirees returning to work.
"The carefree life that older generations were able to live just doesn't seem to be in the cards for us now," said Rosie Barrera with AARP.
According to AARP, 69% of Americans ages 45 to 74 are now working or plan to return to work after retirement. And many baby boomers believe they will work for the rest of their lives.
"People just don't seem to have the money" said Barrerra.
It's a position, however unexpected, isn't all bad for Bennetsen. She 's grateful for the ability to work, the added income and for every tiny hug.
So what advice do these older Americans have for the younger generation? Well, it begins and ends with savings and insurance.
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