If you’re like many Americans, the idea of spending your retirement on the couch isn’t all that attractive. The good news is that baby boomers are using their numbers and influence to redefine retirement. While some fill their time with hobbies and travel, many are choosing to take on “encore careers” that combine their passions with a paycheck. One survey found that over the next 10 years, 25% of boomers want to start a business or nonprofit; half of those surveyed hope to make a difference in the world while earning money.[i]
There are some obvious financial benefits to earning income in retirement. You can make up shortfalls in your retirement nest egg by continuing to save, and you can give your savings more time to grow by not drawing them down for income. Delaying claiming Social Security benefits will allow your monthly benefit to earn additional retirement credits (until age 70), and eventually give you a larger stream of guaranteed government income.
The rewards of a second career can also go far beyond the financial. Many encore careerists find it very satisfying to mix their passions with the experience they gained in their primary career. For those who want an active retirement, finding a meaningful way to spend their time keeps them connected to the community and engaged in the larger world.
Encore careers come in all shapes and sizes. Many boomers enjoy teaching at local schools, community colleges or nonprofit education centers. Others use the skills they gained during their primary careers to become consultants and coordinators. Still others shift gears completely to pursue artistic passions like music, painting, or drama. What’s important is that your encore career fulfill your passions and bring in some extra money.
If you’re interested in pursuing an encore career, here are some tips to help you get started:
- Start by writing down your goals and interests and think about how you could turn them into satisfying work.
- Take classes at your local college or lifelong learning center to pick up new skills.
- Think about how much you’d like to work and what kind of environment would interest you.
- Consider taking a personality assessment and work competency test to learn about your strengths and zero in on the perfect encore career.
- Look around for job opportunities and let friends, family, and others in your network know that you’re looking.