Good Things about Working in Retirement

by Larry Steward
(South Carolina)

Hello all of you in your golden years!

I'm curious how many of you like me are continuing to work in some form or another? I am on a mission to help others who have decided to take this step make the most of finding something they would love to do and make money doing it. Loving what you do to me is the secret of making the effort a successful one.

There are many benefits of continuing to work no matter what path you follow - part-time, full-time, or somewhere between. There are many combinations but consider these potential positive results of being involved in work you would enjoy:

  • feeling good to have extra money going into the bank account

  • experiencing a sense of accomplishment and purpose

  • feeling connected to like-minded people and building friendships

  • eliminating boredom and depression

  • finally becoming the person you always wanted to be

    We are all on a journey into an unknown territory that may last for a long time. I believe it makes sense to take time off and smell the roses if feasible, but don't ignore maybe turning that hobby into a profit-making activity when you consider all the positive benefits.

    I look forward to hearing comments on both sides of this position.

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    My comments on more interesting stories
    by: Larry/ South Carolina

    I'm intrigued to read even more stories about the different reasons members are choosing to work in retirement and learning about all the challenges being faced.

    Linda from Nevada commented -

    about feeling the affects of age discrimination in one form or another. Yes, that is certainly out but there are ways to maneuver around it by positioning your maturity and overall experience as real benefits to a potential employer. For example, maybe talking about all the experience you bring to the table in terms of working with savvy customers, being reliable, hard working, trustworthy and serious about wanting to pay back for a change. Younger people may be pushed aside if you take a stand like that.

    Keep this in mind as well, there are many small businesses out there that find it difficult to hire someone who is passionate about their products or services. It may be hard for them to find someone they can trust to show up on time or have the maturity to handle certain customer relation issues. The list goes on.

    Elizabeth from West Virginia mentioned -

    her years of photographing wildlife. Now that is a specialty I just know could be put to good use somewhere. Elizabeth, you go on to mention you have a lot of knowledge and adventures to share - I encourage you to think about interesting ways to mix and match those experiences with your abilities and see what comes up. The combination of your real estate background and photography experience is an example.

    You've done presentations before and I would think a subject like wildlife would never grow old. By doing some research on the business of wildlife photography and learning what some organizations/magazines/freelancers may be struggling with, I bet you could uncover a way to help them out and have some fun in the process. Don't put that idea on the shelf.

    This could be an involvement you could do from the comfort of your home using the Internet and reaching out to the world. Who knows, maybe you could submit some of your work to a publisher. Or team up with a camp in some new way to help kids really get up close to the wildlife if they only knew where to look.

    The point is Elizabeth, you have a lifetime of experience and, if you really want to get involved again, you have earned the privilege to draw on just that part you enjoyed the most and have fun with it. I know you don't want a 9 to 5 but it seems there may be something right around the corner for you, where you would love what you're doing and maybe discover after all these years you were meant to do this all along.

    I like Wendy's idea for you to join the Retirement Community as well and get the word out to her 1800+ followers. I'm confident you will be amazed once they know specifically what you're looking for (photographer contacts, photo shops, wildlife magazine writers, real estate photographers, camp organizers, etc.) the type of contacts and/or other interesting information that will surprisingly show up.

    All of this is a glimpse of how I want to operate as a coach in the near future:

    * Learn what you are searching for by helping you sort through your wild and realistic options.

    * Help you knock down those hurdles that are sure to get in your way.

    * Enhance the magical power of networking by announcing your goals to a membership of like-minded people searching for their own answers/contacts/anything else that may be helpful.

    * Then help you connect the dots so progress can be made quickly.

    * Stage celebrations when you succeed so we can cheer you on and learn how you made it happen.

    I'm working on my plans too so keep the stories coming!

    Wow Sandy - what nuggets you passed along!
    by: Larry / South Carolina

    I hope a lot of people read your update, Sandy. I am so impressed with how you went about finding your non-profit role. You were determined to maintain your sanity while at the same time find a sense of purpose - it is clear you hit the mark!

    By contacting colleagues who left your same company, you avoided the frustrating process of answering ads and waiting for the phone to ring. Instead, you talked with those on the inside who knew you, who knew what was going on, who could answer your questions and who, I bet, introduced you to other key people along the way. It certainly paid off.

    I was so impressed with what you said about how positive the whole experience was and how mission-driven these people are as compared to those in the corporate world. I'm sure many can relate, and it makes an important point about how to keep the right frame of mind when making such an important life change.

    My hope was when I started posting on this subject that I would hear some heartwarming stories like yours. I could not agree with you more when you stated, "it's all about connections". In my work, I cannot emphasize that enough.

    I'm not campaigning that all seniors should go out and get a job. What I believe is that if people decide to work in retirement, then I feel they should do their best to find a situation that is meaningful and, as you learned, can give back more than expected.

    Thanks so much for following up and sharing such inspiring and useful information. You're on the right path. Best of luck as you move forward.

    Still searching
    by: Elizabeth , West Virginia

    It has been 18 months since I retired from 37 years in the real estate community. My story is a bit different in that I did not retire until I was 81.

    My house was becoming too much for me to maintain alone, so that was sold and I moved here to West Virginia. They say, do not move in with your children, but my daughter and son in law have made me very comfortable.

    I had plans to do volunteer work and pursue my hobbies of knitting and studies of ancient history. The ideas of finding volunteer work quickly evaporated, age and slight mobility problems were not appreciated.

    My interests are not really main line, but I have gained much from my years of photographing wildlife. I feel I have a lot of knowledge and adventures to share. In my former life, I did presentations at County Schools and camps, but again there seems to be a lack of interest.
    No plans to give up searching and I have enough to keep me busy here at home.

    My studies continue with The Great Courses and I knit for charity, but the communication with people is missing. The 12 snail mail pen pals help to keep me in touch with the mood of the country.

    I suppose I should just relax and enjoy, I have been so blessed.

    Wendy: Eliz, if communications are lacking, join the Retirement Community (right side of site) and you'll find 1800 retirees there to chat with... publicly on the site, or swap emails/snailmails and write privately!

    Part time work helped me
    by: Trudy - Racine WI

    Hi Larry,

    I retired on April 29, 2016 from a very stressful small Customer Service Department that I had managed for several years. My husband and I planned for that day and saved some fun money to take the summer off and enjoy whatever we wanted to do.

    We went to a Florida Wedding, spent many weekends camping with family and friends, took our 5 grandchildren to a baseball game and did a lot of projects around the house. I had days during those summer months where I was out of sorts....I did not have the structure of my 40 hour plus work week and I felt unworthy of all the free time and found myself getting lazy. There was always tomorrow to do whatever.

    Well as the fall was closing in and days became shorter and gloomy my mood was not good. One day as my husband and I were driving down a local road I saw a sign on a marque in front of a flower shop. They were looking for part time help.

    I decided to check it out and was hired almost immediately. I work 15 hours a week, sometimes a little more and sometimes a little less depending on what they need. I am a people person so this gives me the opportunity to interact with others. I love my co-works and as I have said many times - who doesn't like flowers.
    We enjoy the extra (fun) money and find time to do things together on the other days.

    I am happy with my decision and so is my husband.

    A response to your inquiry
    by: Sandy

    Hi, Larry - I really enjoy reading these comments as you are creating lots of interesting discussion! You asked me about my non-profit experience and how I came about that.

    Frankly, once I retired, I panicked. I immediately knew I had not properly planned. There was no way I could go back to my previous employer, although I didn't try. I think my ego got in the way.

    So I just started talking to other colleagues who had also left my employer and found work in health care. The position was only for 8 months which gave me a great transition period. Word got around that I was looking for additional employment after that ended and another former colleague asked me to work at a non-profit urban clinic.

    At first, I was SHOCKED at the salary and wondered if it even made sense to work. But I reminded myself that I was not working for the money, but for my sanity and sense of purpose.

    With that in mind, I just jumped in with both feet and learned all I could about my new environment and was humbled by the mission driven people - so different than what I had experienced in Corporate America. It made me realize how narrow and even selfish my thinking had been. So, the job gave me more than I expected.

    If I could summarize my experience for others, I would say that it really all about connections. Any job opportunity I have been given was from someone I knew from a previous job, a volunteer job or from the community.

    I have applied for jobs where I do not know the recruiter or hiring manager, and never receive a call back. These were jobs I was well qualified for, so I don't want to appear a victim and say it was ageism, but it may have played a part.

    I hope this answers your question. Best wishes on your coaching endeavors.

    Response to Larry/South Carolina
    by: Linda/Nevada

    Without giving away too much of my personal financial information, it would be counter-productive for me to earn additional income. I would lose too much in benefits and I would have to start paying taxes. Capitalists are probably cringing at this comment but I am a socialist at heart and I disagree with the concept of capitalism. When you lose more than you gain, why would you want to give up your freedom to go to work after working all your adult life?

    I am no stranger to depression but now that I have the freedom to exercise any time of the day and plan my days according to my whims, I no longer struggle with depression. I am not a people person and I do not really like to socialize so the solitude of not being among people is the right fit for me.

    I grew up poor so unexpected expenses are nothing new to me. I have learned that worrying and fretting about things out of your control is a waste of time. I also learned a long time ago that planning makes people feel better but the reality is that fate will always triumph over dreams and blue prints of your life.

    I read an article recently that leads me to believe that there is an underlying effort to encourage retirees to continue to work because of the loss of revenue that the economy will see in the coming years. I don't remember the exact percentage but the article stated that a very large portion of retirees will be living on a yearly income of less than $15K per year. These articles that are published almost daily about working into your 60s and even 70s are self-serving and are even borderline scare tactics to paint a dismal picture of poverty if you do not have a substantial nest egg.

    I have never been able to save money but I have faith in myself and God that I will not perish because my bank account is not what the so-called experts say it should be. I sleep well, my bills are paid on time, and I even have a little spending money to treat myself once in a while.

    Response to Loyce and Linda
    by: Larry/ South Carolina

    I'm pleased to see others joining in on this discussion. I'm sure we'll see comments coming from all directions on this subject. It's just what I was hoping would happen.

    Loyce and her thrift and shopping involvement:

    Hi Loyce. You represent what I've been talking about in this ongoing discussion. Someone who has CREATED a work from home situation doing something you love to do and making money doing it. Congratulations! It seems to me that the world is your market and who knows where your efforts may lead.

    My interest to get back into coaching is based in large part on all the technology available to easily work with people all over the world. Good luck Loyce in moving forward and thanks for revealing how you're making that work.

    Linda from Nevada - after 43 years, the terms job and work are no longer part of her life.

    Good for you Linda. I expected to hear this. You worked long and hard I'm sure and now you get to do it your way! I say if you can relax and not worry about what tomorrow may bring, more power to you. I'm sure there is a good percentage considering the same thing.

    What I'm hearing from others, however, is a concern about how long their retirement period may last and how will they deal with doing nothing for maybe 20+ years? They wonder if their boredom will lead to depression and have concerns about running out of money if unexpected bills pop up?

    I hope long term you make it all work but you will certainly have time to consider options if you want to cover your bets. Good luck.

    In response to Joe W.
    by: Larry / South Carolina

    Hi Joe,

    Thanks for your contribution to this discussion.

    I totally agree with your point that it is not necessary to find a traditional job in retirement. That is why I choose the title of my original post to be "Good Things about Working in Retirement" and not "Good Things about Finding a Job in Retirement."

    I want to help those who want to work or plan to work in retirement by showing them ways to uncover different options for themselves versus putting all their effort into the difficult, "wait and see" process of trying to land a job.

    Even when we were younger, trying to find a job by answering ads and sending resumes was difficult because you have no control over the process. The people hiring and the recruiters maintained control. That approach hits a wall when they tell you "send me your resume, and we will call you." Then what? You wait and see. Very frustrating.

    The process that has been so successful for me time and again in finding work I loved to do was to match an ability I had to a new interest I wanted to pursue. With a list of possible options in hand, I then found people who were doing that work and learned from them how to get on the inside like they did. When people first hear me discuss this, they often remark, "Larry that seems like the long way around". Believe me; it is just the opposite for many reasons to get into now.

    I liked your point about a support group effort for people 50+ to discuss these issues further. I am on a mission to do just that. My plan is to create a service much like Wendy has developed here with a focus on helping people who plan to or are working in retirement. One of the main reasons I am active in this forum is to learn more about the issues people 50+ are running into as they pursue working in retirement and find ways to help them succeed in their efforts.

    by: Loyce!

    I love to thrift/shop and sometimes unearth treasures which I sell on/line--mainly fashion and accessories-- and the $ from my sales allow me to continue the cycle.

    I use an app for this endeavor which has me taking pics and writing descriptions so I can sell the items, hopefully. I have over 1100 items and try to stay organized as this is my biggest challenge.

    I can "work" at home and shop locally so these are other plus sides. Next month I celebrate my year anniversary and remain in the black. I have a gift shop in my home, for friends and myself.

    My Response to Larry
    by: Linda/Nevada

    The words job and work are no longer part of my life. I don't need to be "creative" or productive. I hated every minute of every day of every year that I was in the workforce. I have never been competitive, materialistic, or ambitious.

    Any interests that I now pursue are strictly for my enjoyment and do not need to have a purpose. I just want to spend each day doing whatever I feel like doing even if that means doing nothing at all.

    I have earned my state of nothingness after working full time (never had a part time job) for 43 years.

    My response to Sandy & Linda
    by: Larry /South Carolina

    I'm so pleased to read both your comments. Thanks for sharing your experiences. Your responses are what I was hoping for - to hear from others and learn from your experience.

    Both of you made the same point about the challenges of finding a job at our age. I totally agree and understand your points about obstacles. That is real, and therefore creative solutions are needed I believe. Both of you found answers, although I suspect they may be somewhat a compromise. However, you're moving forward and making things happen. Keep it up, both of you!

    I want to make a distinction between finding a JOB and finding WORK. My approach to helping people find success in working in retirement are to find ways to CREATE new opportunities versus putting all their effort into finding a job.

    That means taking the time to assess your strong interests at this point in life and combine those with various abilities you have using some "out-of-the-box" thinking to see what potential options come out of it.

    I would like to have more information from both of you so I can contribute to some brain-storming ideas. For example with Sandy, - tell us more about the non-profit you're now connected. What lead you to their front door? Give us details of how you made that connection happen.

    And Linda, tell us more about your writing interests and what foreign languages appeal to you and for what reason. What is your thinking now regarding where you can go with this?

    In both your cases, I just know there are some real hidden nuggets we can uncover and build on to illustrate my point.

    I believe others on this forum will find this interesting as well. If you're game, I would like to take this further after hearing back from both of you.


    Working A Job In Retirement
    by: Joe W.

    Is it really necessary to work in a traditional job in retirement. For most people the answer is NO. Too many people find that the transition from a traditional corporate job to a meaningful retirement activity is very challenging.

    I think to simplify this process we will need to get more people 50+ to come together to discuss all the possible options that retirees have; and then determine what is the best route for any individual retiree.

    Working part-time
    by: Sandy

    Yes, I am working part-time. Given my experience, I knew that ageism would impact my ability to get a job in the same field and in the private sector. It is just too big of a factor to overcome.

    So I sought positions in non-profit and was immediately successful. It does help to have some connections in the community as that can be an avenue for entry.

    The truth is it will take longer to find a job for over-60s AND you can't be too choosy. You never know where something may lead, however.

    BTW, if I did not work part-time, I would be extremely unhappy. I HAVE to work! My husband thinks I am nuts as he is content with being at home.

    Hard to Find Work
    by: Linda/Nevada

    Your comments about working during retirement have a lot of merit and I agree with some of your viewpoints but, depending on where you live, it can be difficult, if not impossible to find a job when you are over 60 years old. The area where I live is very youth oriented so my age - 65 is a real stumbling block to finding work. Employers see people our age as a liability when it comes to workers' compensation and health insurance. They also see older workers as not a good long term investment when it comes to training.

    I have tried to find work at home jobs but the competition is very widespread since those ads for those types of jobs are seen by thousands of people all over the country.

    I, unfortunately, did the same kind of work all my adult life so I do not have any experience working in industries that hire part time workers. The workforce today is not too willing to train people because employers believe that they have a large pool of job candidates that already have the experience they are looking for.

    The company that I was laid off from got rid of at least six people between the ages of 55 and 65 in less than one year. Age discrimination in the workforce is a real problem that does not get the attention that it should. The burden of proof falls on the shoulders of workers and the employers have the resources to hire lawyers that have the upper hand in fighting these cases.

    Going back to school is not an option for me because I am already drowning in student loan debt. The job skills that I do have are becoming obsolete.

    I am not expecting people to feel sorry for me and I am not making excuses for myself. I am simply stating that there are real obstacles to finding a job when you are of retirement age.

    I have chosen to stop stressing about not finding a job and instead, I am pursuing interests, such as writing and foreign languages, to feel connected to the world.

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