I just came across a rather grim article about post-retirement careers. Read it here.
The gist of the article is that it’s difficult – really difficult – to get a job after retirement. You may be able to turn your hobby into a business. You may continue with your current employer (though at a reduced level).
The article is on the right track much more than those chirp “encore career” articles we keep hearing about. But there’s hope when you accept retirement planning as more like hang gliding than jumping with a colored parachute.
The reality is …
(1) If you’re over 50, and you’ve never experienced entrepreneurship or sales, it’s time to start. Take a course at a local community college or a distance ed course. (You may have to be discreet if you’re still working.) Learn how to market yourself on the Internet. Get up to date on some basic Internet skills.
Don’t be afraid to start small. My dog-walker began with a few dogs in the neighborhood. Now she has a little empire, with so many dogs and cats she sub-contracts to 8 people and takes a percentage, leveraging her time.
(2) Working for less money in a lower level job can be incredibly stressful for many people. I suspect it’s even more stressful if you remain in your current company, working alongside your former colleagues. They’re insiders; you’re out. Stress isn’t good for your health or your finances.
(3) Think action, not investment. When you come to a crossroads, it’s all to easy to panic and throw money at solutions. Yes, there are lots of high-priced online programs. Some are good and some are worthless. No program is good if you are not a good fit. Your biggest challenge is to match your skills, talents and passions with market opportunities. You need to identify what people want, what they will pay for and whether they’ll view you as a credible source.
Most important: Start planning before you need to do anything. You need to be ready to take action if you unexpectedly lose your job or if your job becomes so unbearable you need to leave right away to save your mental health.
What to do next
Start with education opportunities that come free, especially if you’re on a tight budget. Your local community college may have courses. Your Small Business Administration will have counselors; the quality varies a great deal. Your public library has tons of books and your local bookstore can be a gold mine.
The real question is – what will get you into action? If you find yourself reading or going to classes and doing nothing, you might need to assess your motivation or talk to a coach or counselor. Stay away from the high-priced services until you’ve got some traction in your business.