I have been asked on numerous occasions when I am going to retire; other times people are surprised that I work after all I am 62 and I use an electric scooter because I can't walk. I am married and my husband works and brings in a good salary. Why not retire?
Back in 1987 my husband lost his job. We had to sell our beautiful home with a pool and spa for exactly what we owed on it losing every penny of equity we had built up over the previous 12 years. We lived on severance and savings for the following year while I finished my Pharmacy degree and my husband began his training for a new career. I supported us for the following 2 years while he finished. He was without work for 3 years total. Now fast forward to 2007--husband is able to keep his job only by transferring to a totally new department. I have watched several mass downsizings at my own place of employment. So if there is one thing I have learned for sure over the years is that no job is secure and that has never been so true as it is today. So why do I work? So that if one of us loses their job, we still have an income and health insurance.
I can stretch a dollar as far as anyone but frankly there is a level of income below which it is exceedingly difficult to live even a modest life. Then there is the whole health insurance debacle; I have health problems and need to see doctors. I cannot imagine how much stress it is to be sick and not know how your are going to pay for health care.
The new financial reality is no joke and it is not optional. If you have a job, keep it, upgrade your skills, and (you know what I am going to say next, don't you) pay off all debts and get an emergency fund in place yesterday.
Finally, the last reason I keep working is that I want to die like Daniel Schorr--fully engaged with the world and doing work that I think is important until the end of my days.