Consider turning your avocation into a second career

The prospect of a target retirement date not too far in the distance can conjure up very mixed emotions. We all have our idealized image of the perfect retirement. For some, it’s an endless stream of exciting trips to exotic locations; while others envision a quieter beach house existence. Yet for many successful professionals, the prospect of simply switching off the pace, energy, and collaborative engagement of business life can be a daunting prospect.

This may be one of the principal reasons why so many adults today (74%) indicate that they plan to continue working in some capacity (either full-time or part-time) well beyond normal retirement age.1 Of course for some, additional retirement income is more a necessity than a choice. For others, however, a second career presents not only a chance to stay active and engaged, but an opportunity to turn a lifelong avocation into a new profession – whether pursuing art, educating the next generation, or finding personal fulfillment through active philanthropic engagement.

Finding flexibility and fulfillment

Americans today are living longer, healthier, and more active lives than ever before. The 10-15 year retirement of earlier generations has given way to modern retirements lasting 20-30 years or more. That’s a long time to spend stretched out in a hammock. If instead you’re interested in staying more active and engaged, you may want to consider one of the following encore careers:

  • Coaching/mentoring: you’ve accumulated a lifetime’s worth of experience and insight that a great many emerging business leaders would love to tap into. Consider turning that knowledge into a profitable second career as a coach/consultant.
  • Nonprofit service: maybe you’re ready to focus your efforts on giving back to society. From food banks and social advocacy groups to environmental causes and cultural organizations, there are plenty of opportunities to make an impact.
  • Teaching: both the personal fulfillment and flexible schedule that teaching provides can serve as an ideal second career for retirees.
  • Home healthcare: the need for home health professionals is expected to skyrocket over the coming years. It’s a field that offers both work flexibility as well as a chance for meaningful interaction.

Additionally, a growing number of employment websites have sprung up that specifically cater to pre-retirees and the recently retired. If you’re interested in exploring ways to put your professional skills to use, www.over50jobboard.com lists a wide array of opportunities that are searchable by profession, location, and whether or not you’re looking for full-time, part-time, or temporary/contract work. Those interested in community and nonprofit work may want to check out www.reserveinc.org which matches 55+ professionals with local social service organizations in need of help. Lastly, those of you who are the more adventurous and “outdoorsy” types can explore www.coolworks.com/older-bolder for retiree-friendly temporary jobs at various national parks, lodges, and resorts around the country.

Whether you’re looking to supplement retirement income, stay socially engaged, or help your community and the causes you are passionate about, an encore career can be a tremendously rewarding experience. Start thinking about retirement as an opportunity not merely to rediscover what you love, but to reinvent who you are.

Download our Money Notes Newsletter for June 2017

1 Gallup Economy and Personal Finance Survey, April 2017