Author of "Your Journey from Fired to Hired"

7 Reasons Retirees are Choosing Second Careers

What does your retirement dream look like?

If you’re like most people, the dream looks different than it did 30 years ago.  Historically, people turned in their keys, received a gold watch and picked up their golf clubs.  But thanks to an uncertain economic environment and longer life expectancy, many folks are now envisioning a different retirement for themselves… a retirement where they continue to work.

If you are considering employment after retirement, you certainly aren’t alone.  AARP estimates that 9 million folks between ages 44-70 expect to work into their retirement years.  And USA Today shares that “58% of working retirees say retirement is an opportunity to transition to a different type of work.” You see, with family raised, many new retirees have time (and the resources!) to chase passion instead of income.

But what are some of the other reasons that new retirees say “give me a chance” instead of “Fore?”  Check out a few of them below:

  1. Make a difference. While many folks have the desire to participate in philanthropic activities during their working years, they just don’t have the time.  With the oppressive and repetitive work schedule gone, new retirees are often ready to make a difference.  Marc Freedman, founder and CEO of shares, “the growth in people over 50 starting nonprofits and other social-impact organizations is fueled by the intersection of two powerful trends: later-life entrepreneurship, and second acts for the greater good.”
  2. Offset longer life expectancies. Thanks to continued medical advances, the retirement years are much longer than they were just a couple of decades ago. In fact, 20-year-olds are three times more likely to reach 100 than their grandparents, and twice as likely as their parents.  While that’s exciting news, it also creates concerns of boredom and outliving financial resources for new retirees.  Working in some capacity during retirement can help provide greater enjoyment and for many much needed income to pad their finances.
  3. Entrepreneurial spirit. It’s often been said that having your own business is the American dream.  Well I suspect that dream isn’t limited to those on American soil.  Business News Daily shares, “even though they're nearing retirement age, a large number of baby boomers are looking for an ‘encore’ career as entrepreneurs.” You see, while many can’t seem to justify the risk of starting their own business at the expense of giving up reliable income during their early working years, with reduced expenses and families raised, the retirement years can be a completely different story.  And consequently, many new retirees finally fulfill that entrepreneurial spirit…in their golden years.
  4. Chase the passion. Chances are we’ve all been there…the question of money vs. passion.  In our “first” career, it’s quite common to choose the path of income, or wealth accumulation.  Since many are working to build families, buy homes and plan for retirement, they tend to follow their bank account instead of their heart.  Joe Burgo, a psychologist in Chapel Hill, N.C., and author of “Why Do I Do That?” shares that working in retirement,  “gives people a chance to finally pursue their passions.
  5. Show me the Money. While historically retirees held a degree of certainty regarding the cost of living, new retirees simply don’t have this luxury.  For Americans, continued talk of ending retirement programs like Social Security and Medicare can leave big question marks.  While they may not ever be completely eliminated, our leaders continue to make changes to the benefits…and of course, they are never in the tax payers’ advantage!  Working part-time allows retirees to backfill their retirement and investment plans.
  6. Engage with people. New retirees also fear the loss of the social engagement they grew accustomed to while working in their first career.  And while yes, you can certainly engage with people on the golf course, you are admittedly exposing yourself only to similar folks with similar interests. Working a few hours each week provides the continued opportunity to integrate with people of varying interests.
  7. Pursue my interests…finally!! For many of today’s boomers, the thought of doing nothing constructive for the next 30 years simply doesn’t sound “golden.”  And while some choose to engage in philanthropic and entrepreneurial activities, still others use their newfound freedom to pursue a long ignored interest with gusto.   Decades of saying, "someday I'd like to do that," can finally be replaced with, "I'm doing that tomorrow!"

So while retirement used to mean picking up those golf clubs, it’s starting mean more…MUCH more!

I’d love to hear from you!  What does your retirement dream look like?  Will you opt for the country club membership or something different?

Article written by:

Kathi Miller-Miller is a sought after career specialist and author of “Your Journey from Fired to Hired.” Kathi draws on her 25+ years of success (and failures!) to offer her readers advice on topics ranging from dealing with a boss that drives you crazy to managing millennials...all in a light-hearted and easy to read style.

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