The Rule of 80 is an optional early retirement provision in which an employee may retire with an unreduced benefit if the sum of their age and years of service equals 80.
This program has made retirement by the age of 50 a realistic possibility. But with retirement coming at a younger age and the cost of living rising, many people are opting for work after retirement, whether for needed extra income or for simple enjoyment.
Dee Cookson retired in 2000 after 28 years of teaching at Scott County Central High School and has continued to work ever since.
Since 2000, Cookson has taught part time at Kelly High School, run for county assessor, taken real estate appraisal classes, become Secretary of Scott County Republican Committee and is now the license fee agent for the Chaffee License bureau.
"I had always planned to do something after I retired, I just didn't know what," said Cookson. "I have really enjoyed the new challenges and experiences and don't have any plans to stop any time soon. I enjoy being around people too much to quit working."
Although many people continue to work, most do so on a part-time basis.
"I do not work near as much as I used to. Retirement has given me an opportunity to spend more time with my family and do some things I always wanted to do," said Cookson.
Terry Propst retired from his job as a music teacher six years ago.
In that time, he has planned funerals, sold antiques, worked in real estate and is now teaching part-time at the New Horizons alternative school in Sikeston.
"I was able to retire a little earlier than expected, but I wasn't ready to quit at that time," said Propst. "It is nice to get a little extra income. With the rising health and gasoline costs, you cannot do the things you want to do if you don't work."
Propst said he has seen a large percentage of his colleagues work in various jobs after retirement.
"Everybody needs to have an interest to do something. I plan to keep doing something as long as I can," said Propst.
Surveys show that nearly two thirds of Americans nearing retirement plan to continue working in some type of job after retirement, according to retireplan.com.
But for most people like Cookson and Propst, work after retirement is not a heavy burden.
"I enjoy working and have no desire to stop," said Propst. "After I stop working; that is probably my cue to die."