Ideally, retirement is a new chapter of life where you enjoy financial stability and the option to pursue ‘deferred’ dreams or passions and spend your days relaxing or working on purpose-driven projects.
Unfortunately, the number of Americans on track to enjoy financial stability and predictability in retirement is growing smaller. What’s more, a ‘forced’ retirement from our current career can happen sooner than we plan for, due to physical limitations, a health crisis, a corporate downsizing, or a global pandemic.
In 2020, the way Americans “retire” has an entirely new meaning. Encore careers are on the rise as men and women of all ages seek purpose, creative engagement, and for many, much-needed income.
An encore career can bring additional meaning and fulfillment to your retirement plan. But what is an encore career and how can it help define the next stage of your life?
Encore careers encourage personal growth
An encore career is a second (or third or fourth) career opportunity that can provide fulfillment, meaning, and additional income for your golden years. Your encore career may strive to realize a deferred dream—one you started to pursue in your early career before putting it aside when you made other life choices.
For it to be sustainable, an encore career should be something you are driven to do, whether to serve others, to solve a global problem, or something that gives you purpose and a routine.
Whether they are planned or forced by external circumstances, career transitions are huge opportunities for personal discovery. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you design your own retirement story to include an encore career.
Focus on health and well being
Many health experts contend that without productive work in your golden years, you may experience mental decline, unhappiness, and restlessness. We all know someone who couldn’t wait to retire, yet within a few months was so restless that they found new work to maintain the feeling of being productive and purposeful.
Studies also show that being part of a cohesive community is essential to overall happiness.
Your encore career can also help you develop a new community where you feel a strong sense of belonging.
We advocate prioritizing physical and mental well being and close social connections at every stage of life, but during retirement, they are especially important for optimum health and well being.
Hone in on your passions
Because your time is one of your most precious assets, it’s important that your encore career brings you meaning and fulfillment. Some questions to ask yourself include:
What are my passions?
What brings me joy and meaning?
How will my new project, work, or commitment enhance my life and the lives of others?
Next, identify your best talents and skills. Maybe you’ve been told you’d make a great teacher, coach, trainer, or entrepreneur. If you’re artistic, you may yearn to flex your writing, painting, or pottery muscles. Perhaps you see a need for your talents in the fields of healthcare, education, politics or local government.
Your options are endless! For your encore career choice to be sustainable over time, be sure you optimize and leverage your existing skills, passions, and talents.
Try it out
You may need additional training or education to achieve your goal. If you do, think about how and where you will achieve that training, how the cost will impact your life balance and your financial picture, and the likelihood of it paying for itself with your new career’s income.
You might experiment and try out a few of your ideas as weekend projects to see how it feels to do the work. Let’s say you think you want to pursue graphic design, but after taking on a class or a few projects for friends, you realize you can’t imagine sitting behind a computer that much.
Maybe you discover through experimentation that you don’t mind sitting for hours at a time, as long as it’s fully engaging.
Be sure to tap into your existing professional and personal networks. Those who know you may be willing to help you look for opportunities or connect you with people in your chosen areas of interest.
Keep researching, narrowing, refining, and iterating until you feel ready to make a commitment.
Plan for the financial and lifestyle impact
It is important to include your encore career in your financial plan. For example, depending on how close you are to your sixties, you’ll want to consider potential impacts on your tax bracket and Social Security benefits if you are expecting a new income stream.
We also recommend that couples share their decision-making processes with their partner. Often, a couple who has been together for decades finds as they approach retirement that they have different visions for their golden years. One may have dreamt of frequent travel with their partner and may be disappointed to learn their partner wants to continue working.
If you are a younger couple able to retire in your forties, you may choose to focus on children, flipping houses, or traveling the world. No matter your age, the options for designing your retirement story abound and are only limited by your creativity.
Shape your retirement story
Your retirement can and should be an exciting time in your life. Most of us dream of the day when we have the ultimate choice over how we spend our time.
An encore career, whether you need one or choose one, is bound to enhance your life in many ways. You have the chance to pursue dreams you deferred, flex your intellect and creativity to brainstorm new and fulfilling endeavors, and reach out to your network to re-establishing ties with others in your circle.
Working with a financial advisor who knows you, your dreams, and goals for retirement can help you determine how your encore career will fit into your financial and lifestyle needs in retirement.
Together we can look at your overall financial picture and guide you through the questions that can save you valuable time and money as you sort through your numerous options. Call us today and set up a time to talk.