Baby Boomers Search for Second Careers

Personal fulfillment takes precedence over money in a retirement job.

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Many baby boomers plan to keep working in some capacity after retirement. While some people will delay retirement because they need the money, others will take a job to ward off boredom and keep busy.

Previous generations of retirees may have envisioned retirement as a relaxing, stress-free escape from the demands of the working world. A more labor intensive and often physically demanding work typified earlier careers, and retirement was often necessary for a tired and worn out body.

However, the demands on today’s knowledge workers are more mental than physical. Many baby boomers, who have already begun to reach age 65, are far from physically exhausted and often have much more to give. Few of these active seniors have a physical need to retire from the working world. And many baby boomers are choosing to continue working well beyond age 65.

Delaying retirement doesn’t have to mean continuing on at a full-time job you hate. Senior citizens may feel they have had enough of their current career, after 30 or more years in the workforce. But many people still have the energy and drive to be active contributors to their community in a different capacity.

The challenge is to find a second career that will keep you engaged and challenged. Continuing in the corporate world may not be the best answer for people who want less stress or a more flexible schedule. Instead, retirement can be a time to explore creative new avenues, and put the skills you have cultivated throughout your career to work in new ways.

Your second career can be an opportunity to venture down an avenue that has interested you, but that you were unable to pursue due to circumstances. In retirement, you have the freedom to choose what you want to do rather than what you have to do. Consider a second career you may have wanted to be since you were a child, such as cartoonist or floral designer. Sometimes you can even turn a hobby into a second career by working in a wine store or becoming a yoga instructor.

Since you will have at least some money coming in from Social Security, a pension, or your savings, making a good salary isn’t the most important criteria for selecting a second career. Instead, you only need to make enough to cover the extras that your other retirement income sources don’t cover. This gives you more freedom to pursue fulfilling, but low paying work or take a position that helps others in your community.

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