Growing Number Of Seniors Stay In Work Force

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Rather than retire, William Spangler continues working at the age of 64 because he enjoys helping out other people.

Spangler, who works as a benefit specialist through the Pinal-Gila Council for Senior Citizens, is among a growing number of seniors who continue to work even after they reach retirement age.

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Michael Spangler continues working though he could retire because he enjoys helping people.

Some senior citizens continue or go back to work for the money while others go back to keep busy while still collecting a small paycheck.

According to Workers Age 50 Plus published by the AARP, 68 percent of people between the ages of 50 and 70 plan never to retire or quit working completely.

"It's something to do," Spangler said. He works four hours a day four times a week and earns the minimum wage of $5.15 an hour.

Spangler was on disability for 15 years before deciding to go back to work on a part-time basis.

"My basic job is to help senior citizens get the benefits they are entitled to," he said, adding that if he cannot help them, he will refer them to someone that can.

Spangler is a representative for the Arizona State Health Insurance Assistance Program.

He said he could survive without the money he makes from his part time job, but many seniors are not so lucky.

"It is tough for people to make it," he said. He said there are many seniors who make less than $500 a month from Social Security.

Payson Senior Center Director Marsha Cauley said there is no mystery why many seniors are returning to the workforce.

She said it comes down to finances.

"The majority of seniors are finding out that their money is not stretching like they thought it would," she said. "They have to work to supplement the money they do have."

Rondee Dalgleish, who works 20 hours a week at the Payson Senior Center answering phones and answering questions, said the paycheck she earns is extra spending money.

Money is not her primary motivation.

"It's just something to do," Dalgleish said. "I love it."

She, like Spangler, earns the minimum wage of $5.15 an hour.

The front-desk receptionist said there are a lot of seniors who would like to work, but are unable to due to physical limitations.

"I know there are many who just want to occupy their time," Dalgleish said.

-- To reach Michael Maresh call 474-5251 ext. 112 or e-mail mmaresh@payson.com.

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