Most Baby Boomers Will Work for Life

Delaying retirement indefinitely doesn’t have to be unpleasant if you pick the right job.

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Many baby boomers will continue to work after retirement. The decision to work during the traditional retirement years may be a choice or beyond our control. We may want to work in order to stay busy or we may need to work to replace savings lost in recent years.

Retirement USA recently calculated a very scary number representing the gap between where retirement savings should be and how much Americans actually have. The total deficit was estimated to be $6.6 trillion dollars. In many cases, senior citizens will have no choice but to keep working past traditional retirement age.

[See The 10 Best Places to Retire in 2012.]

Your retirement career. If you plan to work, don’t resign yourself to a retirement career that is boring or unpleasant. Over your career, you have honed and perfected many skills. You know what it takes to get the job done and have built a record of successful achievements to prove it. Here are three ways to leverage this background as you make your move back into the working world:

1. Self-analysis. No one knows your likes and dislikes better than you. Take some time to contemplate what you like to do and what you are good at. Do you work best left to your own devices or do you prefer guidance from a supervisor? Do you prefer to work alone on projects or are you happier in a team environment? Is learning something new exciting or intimidating for you? Are you a creative force or do you prefer to follow predefined processes? Realize that as a senior citizen you may be physically limited as to what you can manually do in a job. But don’t sell yourself short.

[See 30 Fast-Growing Careers for Older Workers.]

2. Analysis of the company. What kind of company and work environment do you want to engage with? Decide whether you prefer a large or small company and whether you want to follow the same career path you were on or try something new. Think about the particular industry that you want to pursue and the type of corporate culture that is to your liking. Create a profile of the ideal company and do your homework to carefully compare your options. Before you sign on it is a great idea to talk with people who work there to get first-hand accounts of the company culture.

[See 7 Tips for Working for a Younger Boss.]

3. Positive outlook. How you choose to face each day in your retirement career can be an important determinant of what kind of a day you will live. It is easy to be happy when you are off to do what you want to do. But even if you are not so lucky, focus on the positive in your life and try to enjoy what you do. Remember that you are an active contributor who is working toward achieving a goal and getting paid for your effort.

There are no guarantees we will live a perfect retirement life and these days we need to adapt just to survive. Seniors facing a new retirement career have the best chance to excel if they take time to find the right work environment where they will be engaged, challenged, and active. Don’t settle for less.

Dave Bernard is not yet retired but has begun his due diligence to plan for a satisfying retirement. With a focus on the non-financial aspects of retiring, he shares his discoveries and insights on his blog Retirement–Only the Beginning.