People are living longer, healthier lives. Consequently, they need more income to cover a longer life span than initially expected. That may be what's fueling an interest among boomers to continue working after retirement instead of pursuing a life of leisure. But it could also be that boomers just like to work.
A recent AARP survey determined that 37 percent of nearly 5,000 workers age 50 to 64 plan to continue working for pay in some capacity after retirement. Their parents were more likely to volunteer, spend more time with family, or get involved at their place of worship in retirement. Clearly, maintaining a sense of purpose is important for any retiree, and working may fulfill that need as well as help people stay active and connected to others in their community.
What kind of work?
The survey indicated that, of those who plan to continue working post retirement, 44 percent say they want to try something new, 23 percent expect to stay in the same field, and 33 percent don't know what their work life will entail.
But flexibility is paramount across the board. Most of the survey respondents valued part-time work that allowed them “to work from home, travel, help others, and be rich.”
Sound familiar? It's not far from the lifestyle many of the readers of Get Rich Slowly are currently working toward — regardless of whether they're ready to retire or not.
Will retiring to another job work?
Presumably, the survey respondents are planning to retire to another job out of happy choice because finding a new job can be quite challenging for boomers, especially if they are starting over in an entirely different field. And what if some kind of training is necessary to be able to pursue it? About four in 10 respondents admitted that training will be a key factor to remain competitive in the workplace.
But boomers are not without skills. Most are likely to rely on personal contacts and networking as well as their experience and deep knowledge of their professions. But to expect that part-time work post retirement can make up for poor retirement planning is not wise.
So what does it really take to retire?
The answer to this question is different for everyone, of course. If you're a millennial or Gen Xer, the most important thing you can do is to educate yourself about personal finance — starting with understanding the extraordinary power of compound interest. But there are other steps to start taking too:
Establish an emergency fund in an online high-yield savings account
Get out of debt and stay out of debt
Learn to pay yourself first and budget the remainder
Devote yourself to planning your retirement and start learning about investing
Ready to start your emergency fund?
What if you're facing retirement now?
If you're a boomer still preparing for retirement, interestingly, the advice can be much the same — although there may be more urgency depending on your individual circumstances. Boomers that face severe shortfalls in their retirement funds may even need to continue working and postpone retirement. The good news is that many are in their peak earning years, may now be unencumbered by direct family responsibilities, and may be more disciplined to avoid lifestyle inflation … so they can still gain ground with concerted effort.
William Cowie talks about being over 50 when he woke up to the fact that he wasn't prepared for retirement. He recognizes that his path and method of investing, though successful, was risky. Can it be done? Yes. Is it risky? Definitely. Is it recommended? No. Is all hope lost? No. Get busy and find a path that works for you.
If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail
The point is to get started now. When it comes to retiring, if you fail to plan, you may need to plan to retire to another job. If, on the other hand, you have been diligent in planning your retirement and you just want to retire to another job … right on!
Where are you in your retirement plans? Are you planning to retire to another job? If so, will you work part time, in a different field? Will you be following your passion or trying to stay connected? Tell us about it in the comments!