May 10, 2011

Did You Notice?

About a week or so ago I made two changes to this blog, one obvious, the other more subtle. In the first instance I made size of the words in each post slightly bigger. As a nod to our aging eyes and my own experience in visiting other blogs where I had to struggle to read the words, increasing the font size seemed a logical thing to do. I have received no comments pro or con which is what I had hoped for: a chance that wasn't jarring but makes your time here a bit more comfortable.

The second adjustment was in the wording just under the Satisfying Retirement blog name. What used to read "Helping You Create an Exciting and Productive Lifestyle After Work" now lacks the last two words, After Work. Big deal, right?

Why did I bother?  Maybe I am a slow learner, but almost 11 months after starting this blog it has become obvious to me that a growing percentage of folks who have retired from their primary job have no intention of giving up work completely. Various studies show that anywhere from 20-43% of all retirees want to continue to work part time, start their own business, get another full time job, or even combine periods of leisure with periods of employment. Probably due to a combination of factors, to many the idea of stopping work at a certain age never to get a paycheck again seems outdated.

Most retirees (and those moving in that direction)  are not satisfied to play 18 holes of golf a day, watch TV until falling asleep in the easy chair and call that a satisfying retirement lifestyle. We are eager to find new passions and hobbies, volunteer our time and talents, develop and strengthen relationships, travel extensively, and effectively manage our financial health. We are also not ready to give up making money and being stimulated by work.  

So the two missing words at the top of the blog are quite significant. It means I am able to include more posts that reflect the desire, or need,  to stay employed in some fashion. While the mission of this blog remains to help us develop our own version of a satisfying retirement, that vision will now include how into integrate work into your retirement lifestyle, if you so choose. That subtle change allows me to expand my horizons and you to receive and share a new category of information.

I am at work developing a series of posts for this blog that will deal with

  • The reasons many of us want to work after retirement
  • Part time work and retirement
  • Starting your own business: why?
  • Cycling: work for a while, travel and leisure for a while, then back to work

Watch for this new series over the next several weeks. I hope the addition of this topic helps you better achieve your goal of building a productive and satisfying retirement lifestyle.


  1. It will be interesting to see what you come up with as to the reasons retirees want to work. I did open a cabinet shop for 6 years after I retired from the corporate world. Why because I didn't really know what else to do.:)

    You cite that 20-43% of people "want" to work after retirement. I often see that the people who actually get jobs/etc is quite lower than this spread. Perhaps 1 in 5?

    I continue to "work" even after I shut down my shop. I volunteer two days a week at a local food kitchen. I wonder if I am included in that statistic as "working"?

  2. Bob,
    I didn't notice the words but I have noticed the refining of your topics which I might characterize using the same words your used. It's a good tweak.

  3. RJ,

    The reasons for working after retirement are more varied than I would have guessed. Being bored is certainly one of the them.

    Up to 43% of retirees want to work, but I would think 20% who actually do so is probably a reasonal ratio. I'll see if I can verify that number. We are aware that many employers don't hire older workers for out-dated, clich├ęd reasons.

    As far as I can determine volunteer efforts are not considered "work" by those who measure those things. I assume the definition of "work" must include some compensation to qualify.

    I believe the first post detailing why retirees go back to work is scheduled for next week.

  4. Bob--This comes at an interesting time since I am retiring this month. So many people have asked me if I'm going to work! I was surprised by this. If I wanted to work, I would have kept my job, which was a great job and I loved it. But I'm coming to understand that the reasons people retire and their plans after retirement are as varied as the people themselves. Some people might need the extra income, some people are bored, some people want to do something they are passionate about but didn't have time for before. Oops, I see you will shed light on this next week, so I will wait till your post before speculating further. Can't wait.

  5. Hi Galen,

    As someone who did go back to part-time work 6 years after retiring I am living proof that retirement doesn't have to mean "without work."

    I'm pleased the timing for all this will match your schedule!

  6. Bob - This post hits home with me and I'm sure with others as well.

    I retired so I could do my other occupation full time. That of being an artist. This has been a very rewarding time as well as productive time in my life.

    Now, I've begun a new business that ties in with being an artist - internet marketing - there is no time to sit back and twittle my thumbs, I'm happy, productive and thankful that I can still work, but have no commute or time clock to deal with.

    Really I didn't retire, I just changed jobs.

    For me, I do have a satisfying lifestyle.

    Looking forward to more of your posts on this subject.

  7. Hi Ellene,

    Not retiring, just changing jobs...a perfect summary for many of us. There is a real rush and burst of energy that comes from discovering or expanding on a passion, whether it is work-related or not.

    Thanks for your visit. I need to pop over to Authentic has been awhile.

  8. Bob: Once again you are reading my mind. I'm interested in exploring this new view toward retirement, semi-retirement, not-really-retirement as well. Retirement has changed, whatever we want to call it, it brings with it a special set of concerns and challenges that each of us that is doing it, whatever "it" is, can relate to.

    As a side note, my post that is appearing in U.S. News tomorrow is about working part-time in retirement. See how you are reading my mind?

    Looking forward to reading your insights!

  9. I guess a lot of these responses about "retiring to a different job" calls for a new terminology. Ones that I've heard are "rewiring" and "redirection".

    BTW, I do like the mini-changes. You do work to keep it fresh.

  10. The adjustment in font is much appreciated.

    I think my husband and I will cycle. He has "retired" three times. His free work now is to build furniture for our house and our children (in between fishing). I take jobs that are short term and are interesting. Cycling tends to bring in much less money, but keeps one on top of skills.

    It is difficult to tell others that we are "retired" when there are so many others out there struggling. "How can you possibly make it without a paycheck." They don't understand that we made difficult choices when we were much younger in order to get to this point in our lives.

    Great topic.

  11. @Sydney,

    We often seem to being thinking along the same wavelength and writing posts to match. I'll be sure to check out your USN&WR article. Now that tax season is over I gather you are back to more retired-less work!

    @Banjo Steve,

    Thanks for the support for the freshening. Change for change's sake doesn't interest me, but adjustments that make sense do.

    Maybe we should have a contest to generate a good name for working after retirement. Rewiring or redirection are OK but lack sizzle. Let's think of a label that really grabs people. I'll put on my thinking too.

  12. Janette,

    Cycling is more my style, too. As my interests, available time, and other commitments change I like the idea of being able to adjust when and how I work or not work.

    See my comment to Steve above: we need a name of all this that makes it clear what we are doing.

    Your last sentence is tremendously important. We aren't retired/cycling/semi-retired/whatever by pure luck. Decisions were made years ago and continue to be made every day that allow us to make these choices.

  13. OK Bob, I'll admit it -- I didn't notice either of your changes. But I certainly agree with your reasoning for both. Regarding a retiree returning to work, at some level, I found it interesting to read that 20% to 43% (quite a broad spread, by the way) of retirees want to continue to work part-time. Makes me feel less like I'm doing something wrong by having returned to part-time consulting. Bill

  14. Ok, how about to start working after retirement is to become "reoccupied."

    Yes? No? OK, I'll keep working on it.

  15. Bill,

    There is no one, definitive, survey I could find to measure those who want to continue working, hence the the broad spread of 20-43%.

    But, I am certainly sensing that working in some way after retirement is not unusual enough anymore to feel one might have done retirement "wrong." I've been doing part time seasonal work for 5 years and have never felt that I was no longer retired.

    I'm still searching for a work that may fit this phenomenon. Re-occupied is the best I've come up with so far, but it doesn't quite grab me.

  16. Whenever I mention to my 85-year-old dad that I have a friend retiring at 50 or 55, he cannot comprehend this. He retired at 73. But then again, he worked in Paris, so perhaps they allow their staff to work until they're older. I still believe the dispensable worker is more of an American concept, although things are changing in Europe too.

  17. Hi Sonia,

    The retirement age in France was 60. The government recently tried to raise it to 62 and there were riots in the streets. The French are very protective of their leisure time. There was an interesting report in "The Economist" magazine a few weeks ago about France and it's attitude toward working.

    It is likely the U.S. will raise the retirement age, in stages, to something around 70 over the next several decades. When social security was established, the life expectancy of Americans was around 70, so a 65 retirement age worked for government funding.

    Whatever the "official" age, we are moving into a period where to not work in some capacity all one's life will be considered unusual.

  18. I agree. Boomers are clearly approaching retirement differently that our parents. The concept of retirement today doesn't mean slowing down. Instead, it's the re-focusing of energy on multiple interests, without the strain, and singular identity, of a major career job.
    P.s. Kudos on implementing the bigger font!

  19. Adam,

    Glad you like the slightly larger font size. I went from the standard 12 to 13 and it does make quite a difference.

    I think you've summarized the evolving retirement model well. I certainly have not slowed down during the last 10 years. My days are fuller now with more interesting activities than when I was working. of course, I have more time now to parcel out as I see fit.