My clients often tell me they want to be financially free by around 60, but not necessarily retired. They want to reduce hours, try something new, have a job with less stress or just take a break to think about the next chapter. So, is it high time that we retired the word “retirement”?
Why Keep Working?
There are financial reasons to keep working beyond the traditional “retirement age” of 65—you didn’t save enough; you need to wait longer for your Social Security to start; you sabotaged your nest egg by getting out of the market during a downturn. There are also psychological reasons—brain stimulation; keeping a sense of purpose in your life; the joy of sharing your experiences and wisdom with the next generation; the itch to try out a new business idea. The best part: If you don’t love your current job anymore, a plan to work part time may allow you to exit your current job much sooner!
Planning Now for Part-Time Later
What should you do now to start planning for your final work chapter? Is there a certification or license you’re going to need that you can pursue now? Should you start building up a Facebook network because you’ll eventually seek out all of those “likes” on your new business page? Would choosing work that requires you to move have an impact (positive or negative) on your cost of living?
Best Post-Career Jobs
Here are a few job ideas that seem to address both the desire for income and psychological stimulation.
- Phased retirement: You would keep working in the same job (but dial down the hours), stay connected with your colleagues and train the next generation.
- Seasonal work: This is perfect if you want to travel for long periods of time (teaching, tourism, professional sports, etc.).
- Home care/patient advocate: You might be required to have a year or so of training.
- Teaching and tutoring: Since credentials might be needed, connect with your local school or college first.
- Nonprofit consulting: Nonprofits are often terribly run “businesses,” so if you have business skills, they could use your help!
- Tourism: Oh, the joy of creating experiences and memories for others (tour guide, shuttle driver, travel agent, national parks).
- Craftapreneur: Sites such as etsy.com offer an online marketplace for things you create.
On my recent trip to Costa Rica, I had a touch of envy for the tour guides who took us down a wild and narrow river and over waterfalls. Maybe one day I’ll write finance books from a tiny house overlooking the Gulf of Papagayo and, on the weekends, work as an adventure tourism guide. No matter what happens, one thing is for sure—I’m no longer focused on the nest egg “number” that I need to retire. Instead, I’ll figure out what experiences I want later in life and point my financial plan toward that. Sorry, Stephen Covey—there’s just no “end” in my mind.