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Saturday, August 18, 2007
The Retirement Job

Most of you reading this are in the prime of your earning potential. You are making good money, you are climbing the career ladder at a steady pace, and retirement seems like a distant mountain on the horizon, miles and miles away. Some of you are nearer that mountain than others and it looms tall in your field of vision.

With the stock market taking a beating lately, many people are watching their retirement funds and chewing their fingernails. If you watch any of the cable news channels or business channels, it seems like every other commercial is from a financial management organization touting retirement funds management. Let’s face it – we have a huge population getting ready to hit retirement age and wondering what the heck they are going to do.

Recently, I’ve heard a new term being bandied around – the retirement job. If you retired ten years or longer ago, your idea of a retirement job was driving a golf cart to the next hole or traveling to the Grand Canyon in an RV. I’m not seeing that happening as much now. People are starting second careers when they retire (or even third or fourth careers).

I recently had a client who was 65 who was in a full-force job search. He had a second family with young children and he was adamant that he was good for the workforce for another 30 years. I don’t know if he was an optimist or in denial. We still rarely see 95 year olds in the workplace but we do see 70+ year olds out there working.

Usually, these “post retirement” workers are doing what the rest of us would call “fun jobs”. I recently took a trip to Hilton Head Island and met an interesting couple who operated a deep sea fishing boat. They had retired from their “real” jobs at retirement age and were now doing what they really wanted to do in a location that was very beautiful. They were having a ball not to mention making some pretty good income.

With Social Security being insecure for those of us borne by the Depression Era Kids and the Baby Boomer generation, maybe we should all start thinking about a “retirement job”. What do you want to do when you retire? As hard as our generation works, I suspect that after about a month of sitting on our sofas doing nothing but watching TV, we’ll all be itching to find something that exercises our brains and our bodies. By that time, kids will be out of college, houses will be paid for (hopefully) and we won’t be in the race to make tremendous amounts of money. We can do something fun.

What would your retirement job be? Here are a few ideas I’ve actually seen being executed by retirees: bookstore/coffee shop, bed & breakfast, organic vegetable gardening selling to specialty stores, boat concierge, luxury boat pilot, general aviation pilot, real estate agent, interior decorator, tour guide, furniture maker, gunsmith, and tutor.


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