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30 Jun Posted by in Blog Posts | Comments Off on CLOSE TO RETIREMENT, WHAT NOW? by Suzy Drapkin
We all know that in the old days, once a person reached 62 or so, it was time for retirement.  It was time to be lazy, take up golf or another hobby, spend quality time with the family, travel, and wind down life while enjoying your so-called “golden years.”  Today, many of us can’t afford the luxury of retirement.  Maybe, we lost money during the recession or didn’t plan our finances well and can’t exist without earning some extra money.  Maybe we don’t want to wind down, but just do something new and different.“82% of working Americans over 50 say it is at least somewhat likely they will work for pay in retirement.”  Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs ResearchThe trend for older workers who continue to work past retirement age has several names.  Active retirement, third act creations, or later-life work are some that are tossed around.

Many older workers may not work full time, but are often interested in giving back to their community, whether it is local or global. They want to use their well-honed skills and experience to do something meaningful.   Sometimes these folk have a singular interest that they want to focus on.  It could be working with a non-profit organization whose goals align with theirs.  It could be taking that interest and developing it into an entrepreneurial venture such as combining a love of travel into some kind of for-profit business.  It might be just contributing one’s expertise to a particular business.  Or it might be working a job that provides certain benefits such as providing living wages, health care, or employee discounts.

It doesn’t matter what form of work someone may be doing, what matters is how that person ends up doing it.  As with anyone starting a career transition, there are several things that need to be addressed:

  1. Open Communication:  If you are involved in a relationship and want to stay in it, you need to have the talk.  The two of you must be open about what active retirement means to each of you, what are the expectations that you have for each other and your lifestyle.  For there to be minimal stress you need to be on the same page, not necessarily the same interests, but similar end-goals.
  2. Financial-Assessment:  First and foremost, is the importance in doing a financial analysis including working up a monthly budget to live.   Having this information allows for making informed decisions about how much you need to earn per year, what liquid and non-liquid assets you will need, what your emergency fund looks like, your monthly bills, and how long you can go without earning any money while figuring out what to do.  I cannot stress how important this is information is because whether it is good or bad news, it can actually empower you.  Having a clear idea of what your financial circumstances look like allows you to make decisions logically rather than emotionally or by guessing.
  3. Self-Assessment.  While one would think by the time people have reached their mid-50’s and older, they would have a firm grasp on who they are, this isn’t necessarily the case.  Older people may have a better sense of what skills they have to offer, but many are still grappling with what they want to do. If you are having difficulty figuring out what it is you want to do, a career professional may be able to help you identify your interests, values, abilities, and core competencies.
  4. Look Before You Leap.  There are many questions to ponder before making a jump into doing something new.  Some of them are:
  • Do I want to retire?
  • Can I afford to retire?
  • What can I do to create something positive or meaningful within my community or the world at large?
  • How can I keep being challenged or involved in learning new things?
  • What can I do to generate some income?
  • Do I want to start my own entrepreneurial venture?
  • Do I want to purchase a ready-made franchise?
  • Is consulting in my area of expertise an option?
  • How can I age successfully and attain the right balance in my life?
  • How will my significant other and I handle spending more time together?
  • Will it be difficult to realize who I am without a job title and/or career?

In summary, it is important to look closely at the realities of your situation. I always like to tell my clients that at the initial stage of transition the world is your oyster, meaning anything is possible.  Later, as you gather more information and have better information about your choices, your final options will be clearer and you will be able to narrow them down. However, it is imperative to be practical and properly assess where you are both financially, professionally, and personally.

Warm regards,
Suzy and Pat