According to a study performed by Gallup, an internationally known company that specializes in data collection driven by polls, the average retirement age in the United States is now 61, as of last year. Although this number continues to increase, up from 59 in 2009, many individuals are working longer and some are even having fun doing so.
At age 76, Ruth “Ruthie” Wothers has built a fifty-four year career working for State Farm Insurance Agents in New Jersey and Delaware. Working part-time in 1960 for Joe Cella in New Jersey, Wothers moved back to her home state of Delaware in 1967 where she assisted Harold Bennett in Camden. Assuring Bennett that she would only work there until he found someone to employ, she worked for Harold until he retired in 1995. She followed his son Hal into the business until he decided to retire in 2011 when she went to work for Katie Bennett, the third generation of Bennetts to work for State Farm Insurance.
“Mr. Bennett was a fantastic gentleman,” commented Worhters. “I always said he could talk to the attorney and the farmer about their pea crop.”
Currently working for State Farm Agent Mark Schanne in Milford, Ruthie specializes in property and casualty protection. Seeing many changes over her career of five decades including technology of computer and mobile access for insurance claims and quotes, she still believes the most important part of the job is building the relationship with the customer.
“I like being able to help people to protect their assets,” commented Wothers. “Once they know you have the knowledge and they feel comfortable that they know who you are, they will follow your recommendations.”
Ruth first retired on her sixty-fifth birthday but soon after decided to go back into the workforce. Now eleven years later at age seventy-six, she is still happy with her decision to return to work. Her advice to anyone thinking about retiring at the average retirement age of 61, is simply “don’t do it.” Ruth admits that now she works more for her mental health than for financial purposes.
“It seems like everyone looks forward to retiring but after you get all of your closets cleaned out and the house painted, you will sit there twiddling your thumbs,” commented Wothers. “Do something and keep going, it will keep you healthy.”
Taking a trip to Disneyland every twelve to eighteen months, Wothers also enjoys reading, working in the yard and spending time with her schnauzer. Not intimidated by the average retirement age or new technology, she plans to be with Mark Shanne at State Farm Insurance for many years to come.
“I told Mark I am working here for the rest of my life,” commented Wothers. “I love the people I work with and there is not a day that I do not want to go to work.”