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You know you don’t want to keep doing your current job forever. But you just can’t imagine yourself spending all your time playing golf or working in the garden. Maybe you need to consider a second act for your work life – a new career.
People nearing retirement may decide to continue working for many reasons. They may need the money, or they may need the benefits. They may want the structure and discipline that a job brings to their life. They may want the contact with work colleagues, or they may want to do something meaningful with their lives.
Whatever your reason, if you decide to embark on a later-life career, you won’t be alone. Surveys show that up to three-fourths of Baby Boomers expect to continue to work in retirement. And according to the Employee Benefits Research Institute, more than 15 percent of people over 65 are still working – a number that EBRI and other observers expect to increase as more Boomers reach traditional retirement age.
If you want to – or have to – continue to work after you retire from your current job, start by considering what you might want to do. There are many options, depending on your experience, interests and expectations.
For example, some people become consultants in the field in which they spent their working life. Often you can start by continuing with your current firm in a consulting role, or consulting with other businesses in your field. You can open your own consulting business, or you can search for one or two companies to work for exclusively.
Other people look into jobs that are likely to be in high demand and offer lots of flexibility. For example, many older adults are becoming nurses or training for other jobs in the health care field.
In addition to nursing, other service professions are also popular with older adults, who are turning to jobs such as pastors, counselors or Peace Corps volunteers.
Some people turn an interest or hobby into their second career. For example, if you coached your kids, enjoyed it and feel that you have learned a lot about coaching and a particular sport, you might want to seek a job on the coaching staff of a local high school, small college or traveling sports program. If you enjoy cooking or baking, you might want to open a catering business.
Start by determining your priorities. Do you need to make a certain amount of money or get certain benefits? Do you want to be able to stay in your current community or move somewhere else? How much do you want to work, both in terms of hours per week and months per year?
At the same time, look at what you like to do. List your interests, and see how you could turn those interests into employment. If you will need additional training or education, consider where you can get it and how much it will cost. You might want to talk to an employment counselor, career coach or placement office.
The important thing is to plan for the second act of your working life before the curtain comes down on the first act.