Move over 20-something founders. Retirees have just as much to offer. By Kayla Matthews (Productivity Writer)
Economic necessity and longer lifespans have pushed back most Americans’ expected retirement age. According to a 2014 study, 65 percent of workers in the Baby Boomer generation expect to work past age 65. Some of those 65 percent have no plans to retire. But are businesses prepared to welcome and support an unprecedented number of older workers?
Ageism is a common fear, particularly for the unemployed seeking new jobs. But for workers enjoying successful careers at the same company, entrepreneurs and others with in-demand skills, there are many possibilities for not only prolonging your career, but enjoying it, too.
1. Start the Business You Always Dreamt Of
Whether you’re a serial entrepreneur with plenty of ideas left or a faithful employee who always wanted to strike out on their own, you should keep dreaming and doing after retirement. Claudia Timbo just started her third company and even specializes in hiring older workers. That’s one way to make the change you want to see in the job market.
If you’ve never started a business before, don’t let inexperience stop you. Many entrepreneurs begin their first companies while still working for someone else. So get started now, and have a long-term plan for growing your business and retiring from your day job. Luckily, the Internet makes it easy to launch a new business.
For example, you could set up a website advertising your services as a consultant, freelance writer or math tutor — however your work experience translates to self-employment. If you’re crafty, you can sell your wares on Etsy. Talk to others who are doing what you want to, emulate their best practices and look forward to an exciting post-retirement venture.
2. Transition to Part-Time or Less Demanding Work
Many people retire from longtime careers only to re-join the workforce in a part-time capacity. Whether out of need for the income or simply to stay active, a part-time job can be a fun way to extend your career. People in certain fields — such as therapists, real estate agents and other self-employed professionals — can simply reduce the hours they work. This is a great option, especially if you love the work you’re doing but desire more free time.
Other workers may have to switch fields, but this could be a welcome change for those feeling burnt out from their first careers. There are many opportunities to transfer your skills and experience.
For example, if you worked in office administration, you could find a part-time and/or seasonal job with your town’s government. If you have professional experience in business, engineering or other popular majors, you may be able to teach one or two college classes a semester at your local community college.
If part-time work isn’t financially doable for your budget, consider transferring to a less demanding full-time position within your current company. It may hurt your pride to take a demotion or pay cut, but continuing in a stressful position isn’t good for your health and can even affect your worklife expectancy.
3. Hit the Books
It’s never too late to learn something new. Plus, an advanced degree can be the best way to switch fields or climb the ladder in your current career. Many employers will even pay part or all of your tuition, especially if the degree’s related to your field.
So if you’re bored with your current position, consider school as an option for stimulating both your mind and your career prospects. A recent degree on your resume will show employers you’re serious about working hard during the last phase of your career.
4. Change Your Outlook
“Delaying retirement” sounds like a failure of some kind. Instead, look at a longer career as “prolonging your passion.” With research demonstrating that boomers have lower mortality rates than previous generations, you have plenty of years left to find fun and stimulation in your work. And the workforce is lucky to have you, a huge asset of knowledge, experience and leadership
About the guest blogger: Kayla Matthews is a workplace productivity writer who relishes organization and a positive attitude. Follow her on Google+ and Twitter to check out her latest posts, or find her at ProductivityBytes.com.