Transitioning to an Encore Career
What's Next? Your Next Act Could Be Your Best Yet
- Visualize how you want to live in retirement.
- Consider using your extended years of retirement to pursue a new passion.
With the amazing story of longevity and millions more people living well into their 80s, 90s or longer comes a new definition of retirement. Increasingly, reaching age 65 does not mean slowing down. Instead, it may mean transitioning to an encore career, or simply a next phase of life to pursue a passion. According to the American Association of Retired Persons, the number of workers age 50 and over is soaring – from 20% of the workforce in 1996 to 31% today.
Your Encore Career
Often younger individuals are surprised that they are eligible for Social Security benefits even if they are not disabled. When one person in a family is eligible for Social Security retirement or disability benefits, other family members, including younger spouses and children, may also qualify for benefits.
Regardless of where you are on your life path, it is important to visualize how you want to live in retirement. If you are thinking about your encore career, you will see that the line between work and retirement is becoming more blurred all the time. The fact is that many people who retire go back to work part-time – some even full-time. People are living longer and want to remain involved and productive.
How about you? Is your retirement an opportunity for learning? Volunteering? Helping others? Research from the Employee Benefit Research Institute tells us that 92% of people who worked for pay in retirement in 2010 said that one of their motivations for doing so was the desire to stay active and involved.
When starting to think about an encore career, here are a few considerations to help you on your way:
- Do you have a corporate business skill you are really good at and something you could turn into a new venture, like personal coaching or executive training?
- How about life experiences and avocations that could translate into a new business opportunity, like opening a cooking school to pursue a passion for cooking?
- What expertise have you accumulated over the years that you have a passion to pursue further, such as joining a consortium to provide legal expertise to small start-up businesses?
- Think about experiences in your life when you felt fully engaged and fulfilled. Is there a pattern that can give you some insight into a second career choice that you will find rewarding, like teaching or mentoring?
Whichever route you choose to take, experts agree that you need to plan long in advance of taking the big plunge. If you are still working and thinking about your encore career, save as much as you can and invest in the right way. If you are in retirement, keep expenses in check and work closely with your financial advisor to ensure that you have a strong financial foundation to explore options around volunteering or starting your own business.
Help to Get Started
What types of support would be most helpful in preparing for an encore career? Here is what individuals interested in such work say:
- 44%: Grants and scholarships
- 40%: Volunteer programs
- 36%: National service programs
- 34%: Additional training and education through community colleges or other schools*
Did You Know?
As many as 9 million Americans aged 44 to 70, or 9% of this demographic group, are currently in encore careers, and as many as 31 million of their peers are interested in starting encore careers.*
People in encore careers typically expect to work 2.5 years longer than the national average retirement age, and one in five said they were at least partly motivated to work longer by a desire to make a difference.*
*Sources: "Encore Career Choices: Purpose, Passion and a Paycheck In a Tough Economy," MetLife Foundation/Civic Venture, 2011
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