Many retirees choose to work in retirement. Americans in general have a strong work ethic, so a life of extended leisure doesn’t appeal to everyone. And with the average U.S. life expectancy estimated at 80.1 years, there’s no reason why you can’t pursue meaningful work in retirement especially if your health is good and your mind is sharp. The desire for activity and income are other important reasons you may decide to return to the workforce and stay there well beyond age 65. If you need to or want to work in retirement, there are many options.
What kind of “second career” is plausible for a senior citizen? Retirees today can consider a number of opportunities, such as turning special expertise into a consulting gig, taking a part-time job, starting a small business or volunteering for non-profit work. Let’s take a closer look at the possibilities for working in retirement.
Become a consultant. When you retire after many years in a specialized field, you take a wealth of experience and knowledge with you that cannot be easily replaced. Many retired professionals turn their past into thriving consulting businesses, often providing services to their former employers. Others gain clients by blogging about their fields of expertise. Speaking engagements, seminars and webinars are additional ways you can share your knowledge, which can bring in income and provide you with the professional and intellectual stimulation your former work life provided.
Get a part-time job. If your former field offers part-time opportunities, you may be one of the lucky ones to land a less-than-full time job with better-than-average compensation. Some seniors go back to school to get another degree, training or certification that will qualify them for a challenging part-time job in a field of interest. Or, you may decide to take a low stress, entry-level job simply to remain active—bagging groceries, working a cash register or becoming a barista to stay busy for a portion of the week while lining your pockets with a little extra cash.
Start your own small business. Many sellers on sites such as eBay and Etsy are people who have turned their hobbies of collecting or crafting into thriving businesses. In your former work life, you may not have had as much time to devote to your hobby as you would have liked. Now you can pursue selling your collectibles or handmade treasures and enjoy the rewards of a small business.
Volunteer. Many retirees take advantage of their open calendars to ramp up volunteering for organizations they wish to support. And while giving your services freely to your favorite nonprofit won’t pad your pocketbook, it can be extremely rewarding and meaningful. Whether you choose to help your favorite church, hospital, professional organization or animal shelter, volunteering your time can enrich your life and benefit your community in important ways.
It’s up to you to create a rewarding retirement. If you choose to continue working for a paycheck, your financial advisor can help you examine how additional income will impact your overall retirement finances. If you do decide to return to the workforce, remember this: The point of a work commitment in retirement is not to replicate your former 40-plus hour work week—you’ve been there and done that. Ideally, your retirement career is about staying active and engaged in ways that keep you young. Whether or not you pursue a new line of work in retirement, be sure to leave room for activities and interactions that will make your golden years as rewarding as they can be.