When Working In Retirement Is The Way To Go

Back when I was working full time I occasionally fantasized of that day in the not-to-distant future when I would no longer be chained to “the job”. It’s not that I hated what I was doing. Far from it – over my working years I met wonderful people, some who have become lifelong friends. I was fortunate enough to play an important part in the growth of numerous small companies where the camaraderie and esprit de corps were as important as making money, sometimes even more. I was inspired by talented bosses who took the time to guide my development. My memories of the working world are for the most part positive.

But never working again – that sounds pretty darn good.

Start your day when you want. Spend time doing what truly interests you. Live at a pace that fits your mood. Read…walk…nap…rinse and repeat. Having control over what you do when you do it is something I could get used to.

My plan was to retire somewhere close to 65, maybe 62 if I was lucky. At the moment that was more than a decade off but at least I could see light at the end of the tunnel. Then at the tender age of 53 I became what I call “technically retired”. The company I worked for was purchased, my role was no longer required, and despite scrambling madly for the next year I was unable to find a position anywhere. Welcome to retirement!

Fortunately my wonderful wife continued working which covered our medical insurance and paid the bills. At least we would not be destitute.

I believe retirement is something you need to create. Since you are free to do as you choose it’s ultimately up to you to make it happen. We all have different interests, passions and dreams. What works for your retirement may not be close to what I want. And that is a great thing – we have the ability to create our own retirement custom made to fit who we are.

When I first exited the working world I knew for a fact I would not go back to work – ever. My dues were paid now onward to bigger and better things. On the other hand I never faulted those who choose to include work as part of their happy retirement. If it makes you happy why not add it to the equation?

Who could be more surprised when one day after five years retired, old hardcore never-work-again-me found the perfect part time gig. Our favorite winery – Mercy Vineyards – needed some help in their tasting room. Two days a week sharing with happy visitors wonderful Pinot Noir and Chardonnays lovingly crafted from grapes sourced solely from unique local vineyards – not too shabby. My wife and I felt the owners were great people from the first day we met. Visitors to the tasting room are invariably happy and having a good time. And I can walk to the job site in about 15 minutes.

When the owners Mike and Mark proposed I join their team they did not have to ask twice! I have been at it a few weeks now and love it. The job adds variety to my days, I meet and socialize with fellow humans, plus I get out of the house and continue to learn more about a passion I have had for decades – wine.

If a part time gig in retirement sounds intriguing, here are a few considerations to help make it a good experience:

  • Do something you are interested in better yet passionate about
  • Work with people you like
  • Don’t do it if it stresses you out – you did enough of that before retiring
  • Remember part time is part time – don’t take work home with you (unless you really love it!)
  • Try to minimize your commute ideally traveling during non-rush hours
  • As long as you do not need the job remember you can call it quits if it does not work out

There are plenty of options out there when it comes to part time work. My wife signed on with a temp agency that finds her short term gigs at a variety of local companies. She gets to meet new people, learn new things, keep her mind engaged and leave the stress behind. Her biggest challenge is since she is so good at what she does companies quickly end up offering her full time employment which is not the plan.

I have come to believe there is no reason your retirement cannot include some sort of work. The trick is to enjoy what you are doing. It may take a bit of trial and error to find the right fit. But what is the hurry? After all you are retired.

And should you ever find yourself in the neighborhood, stop in for a taste of some truly wonderful wines. As our tasting glass so appropriately says “Have Mercy”. Cheers.


New retirement includes working for life

The retirement our parents and grandparents knew is a thing of the past. No longer can senior citizens assume they will find happy nirvana awaiting them as they cross the retired age finish line. The reality is we are living longer (a good thing) which necessitates we provide for ourselves monetarily for a longer period of time (not a good thing). Safe investment is an oxymoron as retirees have seen 401k plans and retirement investments plunge over recent years, leaving many fearful they will never recoup their losses. The dawn of a new retirement that includes working for life has arrived.

With few options remaining, many senior citizens must consider returning to the working world to help make ends meet. But as we read every day, unemployment is at all time high levels and even more challenging for older workers in search of retirement jobs. What if we can never retire?

We have to do what we have to do even if it requires working after retirement. Before starting our job search, it makes sense to step back and evaluate just what kind of job we are best suited for and most likely to enjoy. We cannot always be picky but clearly understanding what we like and don’t like can help point us in the right direction for our retirement career.

Read a few pointers on how to profile the best job for you on Most baby boomers will work for life my latest post on US News & World.


The New Retirement – Work for Life

For various reasons, many of us will continue to work after retirement. We may want to work in our senior years to stay busy, we may need to work to replace savings lost in recent years, the choice to work after retirement may be ours to make or out of our control. A research study by Friends Provident found51 per cent of UK workers plan to keep working after reaching the minimum retirement age, their main motivation being a desire to stay active after retiring.  “More and more, Americans are choosing to be ‘unretired,’ that is, continue to work full- or part-time after the age when they are eligible to receive full Social Security benefits.”  Regardless of whether these decisions are the result of personal choice or not, the Center for retirement Research at Boston College recently calculated a very scary number representing the gap between where retirement savings should be today and where they actually are. The total deficit was determined to be $6.6 trillion dollars. In many cases, it is no longer a question of why work after retiring – the bottom line is you have to.

The road that is built in hope is more pleasant to the traveler than the road built in despair, even though they both lead to the same destination. ~ Marion Zimmer Bradley

But do not despair! You have worked all of your life and made it to retirement however it may be defined today. There were many positives in your career from the people you worked with to the feeling of accomplishment that came with a job well done. It is not unreasonable to think that some of these same positives can become part of your new retirement career. The trick is to distill the situation to the point where most of the negatives are done away with and you are left with a pleasant, even enjoyable job after retirement.

How to make the best job for your retirement career

If you reach  the conclusion that after you retire you want to work or that you need to work, do not simply resign yourself to a retirement career that is boring or abusive. Over your career, you have honed and perfected many skills. You know what it takes to get the job done and have built a record of successful achievements to prove it. Leverage your background as you make your move back into the working world. Here are a few ideas to help along the way.

1.    Self analysis – no one knows your likes and dislikes better than you so take some time to contemplate what you like to do, what you are good at, what you can do, and what you want to do. Do you work best left to your own devices or do you prefer guidance from a supervisor? Do you prefer to work alone on projects or are you happier in a team environment? Is learning something new and exciting or intimidating for you? Are you a creative force or do you prefer to follow predefined processes? Do you work better at a specific time of day?  As a senior citizen, we may be physically limited as to what we can manually do in a job so that also becomes a consideration.

2.    Analysis of the company – what kind of company and work environment do you want to engage with? Do you prefer a large or small company? Do you want to follow the same career path you were on or do you want to try something new? Is there a particular industry that you want to pursue? What kind of corporate culture is to your liking? Some companies are very formal and political, others more open-door-policy and free-wheeling. How far are you willing to commute? Remember the time spent in transit is a real cost in terms of time away from your family and life.

Once you have a good profile of the type of company you would like to work for, you can start building a list of likely candidates. To dig in deeper, a trip to the corporate website is an excellent starting point. You can find a lot of information by reviewing the company page, reading through press releases, reading executive biographies, and navigating the various products and services. Check social feedback by visiting Twitter or Social Mention or Google. Visit your LinkedIn account and see if you know anyone who has worked or is currently working at the company. There is no better way to check on a company than to talk with someone who has worked there. You want to get an understanding of what it is like to work there before you sign on.

3.    Work toward a defined goal – if you are working after retirement because you want to, your goal is being met. If you are working to improve your financial situation, it is helpful to set specific goals for your retirement career.  Maybe you want to add $X to your savings account. Focus on that, track your progress and reward yourself when you get there. Smaller goals along the way help to keep you on track as you achieve them one after another. If your ultimate goal is to get back to retired life and not work, calculate the amount you need to save to provide you with the additional cash you require. When you get to that number, I hope that all things will be in alignment and you can retire for real! If you can do this and if you want to do this, be careful to avoid getting sucked back into the working rut chasing more dollars than you really need.

4.    Positive attitude – how you choose to face each day in your retirement career is a big determinant of what kind of a day you can expect. It is easy to be happy when you are off to do what you want to do. But even if you are not so lucky, try to think of the good things in your life and enjoy what you do. Work is not always a picnic but how you choose to deal with challenges in your day is mostly up to you. If at all possible, stay positive. Your smile may be the one that turns someone else bad day around!

Anyone who proposes to do good must not expect people to roll stones out of his way, but must accept his lot calmly if they even roll a few more upon it. ~ Albert Schweitzer

No one said life was going to be easy. There are no guarantees that each of us will live a perfect retirement life. This New Retirement Career can be viewed as a curse or a blessing.  In the right work environment, doing what you want to be doing, chances are you will be just fine. So why settle for less?

Don’t forget to pick up a free copy of my Navigating the Retirement Jungle, available upon request by mailing to lovebeingretired@hotmail.com.