What If I Want or Need to Work During My Retirement?

Retirement can be a new beginning for you to explore all the interests you shelved for the past several decades. The biggest key is that you don’t have to just sit at home and watch TV, yell at the neighborhood kids who trample your petunias, and jaw with your buddies about “being regular.” Retirement can mean a whole new career, whether you simply want to, or because you need to.

As retirement portfolios have taken it on the chin and lifespans have increased, the nature of retirement is changing — more retirees are healthy enough to work and want or in some cases, financially need to continue working. There are several reasons for continuing to work part-time even after they’ve retired from their full-time job:

  • To learn something new: Paid training for new jobs lets you challenge yourself, much like taking a college course or learning a new hobby.
  • To do something you’ve always wanted to do: Retirement presents the opportunity to realize goals or dreams that you’ve not yet had the chance to pursue. For instance, if you’ve always wanted to teach, you may want to try part-time teaching during retirement.
  • To continue to enjoy the benefits of working: The social benefits and sense of accomplishment that a full-time career brings can be hard to set aside. Working during retirement fulfills these needs and provides an overall sense of satisfaction.
  • To earn extra money: Part-time work can help you make extra money and supplement the income you receive from your investments, Social Security, and pension.

How to Choose a Retirement Job

Workers who have officially retired can often choose jobs based on what they really want to do, instead of what they need to do to meet their financial responsibilities. This freedom of choice opens doors to many career opportunities, both within and beyond your original occupation and/or employer.

Staying in Your Field

Because employers value experience, many offer formal programs designed to increase the number of retired workers they have on staff. If your employer doesn’t offer retirement work options, you may be able to continue working in some other capacity in your field of expertise.

  • Phased-in retirement: Some companies may allow you to “phase in” retirement, or gradually reduce the work that you do over a certain period of time.
  • Temporary work: Working through a temp agency allows you to spend as much time as you wish on retirement goals, and to work whenever you choose.
  • Training: Companies often hire experienced workers to train new employees on a cyclical or temp basis.
  • Consulting: If you’re an entrepreneur, you might consider launching your own consulting business to share your expertise with others in your field.

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Choosing a New Career

Choosing a new career can boost your mental and physical health and lend purpose to retirement years. When looking for a new career that might appeal to you, consider the following guidelines:

  • Pay attention to benefits beyond salary: Many jobs pay low wages but include benefits that make working worthwhile. Travel agents, for example, don’t earn a huge hourly wage but may get travel discounts that aren’t available to the general public.
  • Follow your interests: Working in a field that inspires you may open your eyes to enjoyable employment opportunities that you didn’t know existed. For instance, if you love art, consider working as a guide at a local museum. If you loved to camp, you could become a camp host or work at a local state park.

Above all – Seek out training: Don’t be afraid to take college courses or career training to prepare for a new career.

Retirement doesn’t have to be the end – it can be a whole new beginning


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