Working retirees say you may earn less to do something you love.

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If you want a job in retirement, especially one you're passionate about, then working retirees suggest trying something new — and being willing to earn less to do something you enjoy, a recent survey showed.

Almost half (47%) of current retirees either are working, have worked or plan to work in retirement, according to the survey sponsored by Bank of America Merrill Lynch in partnership with Age Wave, a research think tank on aging issues.

"Unless you are Bill Gates, most of us could benefit financially from some additional time working," says Ken Dychtwald, CEO of Age Wave.

About 58% of working retirees say retirement was an opportunity to transition to a different type of work. Among the top reasons for changing careers: a more flexible schedule; to have more fun and less stress; to experience and learn new things; to pursue a passion or interest.

Of the 42% who stayed in the same line of work, most say they did so because they're good at what they do and about half say it is because their job allows them to have good work-life balance.

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The survey identifies four distinct types of working retirees, each with different reasons for staying employed, including:

Caring contributors (33%): These retirees want to give back to their communities or other worthwhile causes. Many work for non-profits; some are unpaid volunteers. They tend to be highly satisfied with their work. Giving back is more important than the "size of their office and paycheck," says Ken Dychtwald, CEO of Age Wave.

Earnest earners (28%). Folks in this category need the income from working to pay their bills. They have many frustrations and regrets about working at this time of their life. Only 43% are satisfied with work; three out of 10 don't feel motivated anymore.

Life balancers (24%): These retirees primarily want to keep working for workplace friendships and social connections, but many also need the money. They often seek work that is fun and not stressful; frequently work part time. "These folks are primary motivated by the social stimulation," Dychtwald says.

Driven achievers (15%): They feel they are at the top of their game. Some have "retire-preneurship," that is to own their own business or to be self-employed. These folks tend to be workaholics and have actively prepared to work during this period of their lives. "This segment loves to achieve," he says. "We wouldn't think of telling Bruce Springsteen that he should stop playing music because he's 64 ... or telling Warren Buffett that he's too old to be investing at age 83."

Other findings about working retirees:

• 62% continued to work to stay mentally active; 46%, to stay physically active; 42%, social connections; 36%, sense of identity and self-worth; 31%, make money.

• 44% say the biggest challenge of re-entering the workforce is their skills slipped; 43% say employers believe people returning to work should accept a lower role or pay; 42% say they lost touch with changes in business.

The survey polled more than 7,000 respondents ages 25 and older, including pre-retirees, working retirees and non-working retirees.

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