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Will You Retire Peacefully or Embark on a Second Career?

2012 October 15
by Contributor

Are you looking forward to retirement? Can’t you wait for that extra hour of sleep in the morning, afternoon drinks and all the time in the world to pursue your hobbies? Some people take to retirement like ducks to water. They fill their days exploring new things to do, discovering new ideas on the internet, reading books, exercising and generally staying physically and mentally active. Often, they’re the ones who can afford to.

Some people don’t take to retirement, even though they can afford it. They’re restless without a motivating purpose, without contributing to the economy or society or their community. They look for ways to re-enter the workforce or they volunteer at the local animal shelter, hospice or adult education centre.

Others just plain can’t afford to retire. They’ve worked hard to reach retirement age and once they get there they find that they have to carry on, in whatever capacity they can manage.

Working past retirement

In many countries the mandatory retirement age is between 62 and 66 years old. But, these days, the retirement age is more flexible and people retire from anywhere between 55 and 70 years old. When they do retire, a significant portion begins what is now called their ‘second career’.

The second career takes three broad forms:

  1. People remain in the same field but start consulting or training for various businesses. They might also take part-time positions at their old company or look for new part-time positions that allow them to use their experience and skills.
  2. People begin entirely new careers, for example, moving from accounting into proofreading. They could also start their own businesses in something new, like switching from the 9-5 grind of selling cars to opening a corner coffee shop.
  3. People start volunteering, which is not technically a career but more like a calling. Many people never had time during their first careers to volunteer for causes close to their heart. Retirement finally allows them to spend time doing what they believe in.

An article on cites Sara Rix from the AARP Public Policy Institute. The Institute has found that in 2011, 17.9% of people aged 65 – 75 years old work beyond retirement age, while 7.5% of those aged 75 years old and above continue to work.

According to a poll by the Associated, in 2011, 73% of people intend to work through the traditional retirement age. The main reason for this, according to the poll, is that people are worried about being able to support themselves for the 30-odd years they can expect to live after retiring (

The trick to working past retirement

There are plenty of tricks to working beyond the traditional retirement age, but two stand out above the others:

  1. Do something you love. Many people spend their first careers doing what they have to to make ends meet. Your 60s and 70s should be a time to explore other financially rewarding options.
  2. Don’t push yourself too hard. You have to accept that you are getting older and that eight-hour working days are taxing. Rather look for part-time work that will supplement your pension and still give you time to breathe.

This guest post was written by Sandy Cosser on behalf of Now Learning, an education portal that promotes a range of full-time and part-time online courses so you can continue your technical and further education and training to make yourself more attractive to employers in your old age.

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