The concept of working after retirement is not new. Over the years many folks have found their resources insufficient to maintain an acceptable satisfying retirement lifestyle. Others have planned well, but a catastrophic medical situation has devastated their retirement accounts. Some have found themselves paying for the care of aging parents. More than half of all retirees have debts when they stop working. Whatever the reason, having a new source of income after retiring from a career or life-long job has been a part of life.
What is changing, is the attitude among recent retirees and those who are still years away from that category. The new feeling is that retirement should not mean the end of producing income through some form of work. To retire and then begin to rework is becoming commonplace. Consider that the average life expectancy was 63 years when Social Security was first created. Today, it is approaching 80. Living well into one's 90's is not unusual. The number of years a recent retiree must support him or herself has increased dramatically.
What is also slowly changing is the attitude among some employers. Studies continue to show that many younger workers often have problems working with those much older. However, employers are beginning to understand the benefits of hiring older workers. The years of experience, the dependability and generally positive attitudes of working seniors, and often, the lack of expensive benefits, makes hiring retirees who want to re-enter the workforce a smart decision.
My post of two weeks ago detailed the reasons why. If you missed it, click here for a link. Sydney Lagier had an article on the US News & World Report web site with much the same list last week. Some are tongue-in-cheek reasons, some are serious.
Assuming for now that you may be one of those who wants to work even though you are "retired," there are several options for you to consider. Your decision will be based on your skills and previous employment, whether or not benefits are important, and how flexible you are. If you have discovered a way that suits you, I encourage you to share your ideas and suggestions in the comment section at the bottom of this post.
The most common choice is some form of part time employment. We are all familiar with the stereotype of the senior acting as a greeter at Wal-Mart. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that choice. If you love people this may be a perfect fit. But, it is certainly not the only option. I've seen men and women in their 60's working at a gym as a personal trainer or leading exercise classes for older folks. If you are in good shape and have some background in this field, why not?
For the several months leading up to April 15th, most tax preparation companies hire extra help to manage the crush of people needing help. The same situation occurs during the Christmas holiday season at many retail stores. Because your availability is probably flexible, this could be a great way to add several hundred, if not thousands of dollars to your bank balance.
What about being a tour guide? I do that for 6 months a year. It is fun, puts me in contact with lots of people, is not strenuous, and pays well. Are you an early riser? Newspapers are always looking for dependable folks with cars to deliver their product first thing every morning. How about working at a retail establishment or big box store like Home Depot or Costco.
As a part time employee you are probably not going to receive any benefits. But, you do have more control over how much free time you maintain and how many hours you want to work.
Starting your own business, either as a full time or part time venture, is a serious option for many. Maybe you spent your career chomping at the bit to do something different or better than your former employer. Can you become a consultant and help those in your former industry to succeed? What about that idea for a line of colorful and unique bird houses? You love woodworking...go for it! Quilt-making, dog walking, tax and accounting services, computer setup and classes...the list is endless. Have you considered buying a business that is already operating?
Don't forget franchising. Maybe you have always wanted to own and operate your own ice cream store, carpet cleaning business, pre-school, or fast food restaurant. While not cheap, using the expertise and proven systems of a franchise can get you up and running much more quickly than attempting the entire process on your own.
The concept of cycling in and out of the work force seems to be gaining favor. Work to earn enough extra money for an extended vacation and then stop working. After the vacation or time off, rejoin the work force for awhile, then go off on another adventure. Obviously, part time employment is really your only viable option if this is your plan. Being a consultant, tax preparer, or any type of seasonal work would lend itself well to this approach.
Cycling works best in an economic situation where jobs are plentiful and your skills lend themselves to this type of drop-in/drop-out work. Like any part time work, benefits will probably be non-existent, but more control over your schedule is likely.
As I was wrapping up this post I stumbled across a brand new blog, 100 Retirement Business Ideas. Ann is building a list for retirees who want to consider some form of entrepreneurship as an alternative to retirement. From what she has detailed so far, I plan on being a regular visitor until she lists all 100 ideas! There are possibilities listed here that never would have occurred to me.