As the baby boomers head towards retirement, one of the biggest changing trends in retirement is more people are planning to work in retirement. It used to be that retirement was about relaxing and doing nothing because retirement happened at age 65 when 65 year olds were considered old.
Today, retirees are younger than ever in every aspect. Retirement is happening earlier. The 65 year old is now younger, more active and busier than ever. The 65 year old can live another healthy 15, 20, 25 or more years.
Because of early retirement and longevity, retirement is no longer about not working. Many studies suggest that 50% to 75% of boomers plan to and will do some form of work in retirement. If you think you might be someone that plans to work in retirement, here are some things to think about before you retire into a life of work.
Are you working for the money?
According to a study by IPSOS Reid for BMO, one of the top reasons people plan to work in retirement is for the money. However, many people sited other reasons for working in retirement like staying mentally active, having social contact, just for the fun of it, something to do with their time, and doing something that is interesting.
Working in retirement is fine but retirement will be a whole lot better if you are not pressured to work just for the money. If you require income from work just to cover basic expenses, then you may not be financially ready to retire.
Ideally, retirement should be about working because you want to as opposed to working because you have to. That's more in line with what financial freedom is about. I worry that people think working in retirement will be the only way they can retire. Just remember retirement should be the best years of your life.
Self-employment in retirement
Self-employment tends to increase with age. The incidence of self-employment drastically increases after age 60. Many people are going into self-employment in retirement whether it is consulting or opening up a business.
If you plan to open up a business in retirement, do it for the intent to be successful and to make money. I hear so many people that plan to open up a business for the tax deductions but that is the wrong reason to start a business.
The good news is seniors are better at being self-employed. The have more life experiences and typically more realistic expectations. Generally, they have less pressure to earn immediate income and rewards and they can be a little more patient for the rewards. Seniors also tend to have fewer distractions like dependent children giving them more time and focus to succeed.
The opportunities will be there
As our population ages and the boomers start to retire, one problem is there may not enough workers underneath the boomers to replace all the jobs that boomers are going to leave for retirement. As a result, employers are going to have to be more progressive and innovative in their thinking.
Currently, the Alberta Government launched an initiative to help employees who are planning to retire continue to stay employed even if they are collecting their pensions. This is great news for employees. I expect that more employers will help people phase into retirement by going from full time to part time to no time.
I believe the opportunities to work in retirement will be endless. There are organizations that cater specifically to retirees who want to work in retirement but make sure you are doing things that enhance your life beyond just the money. Make sure you are working for the right reasons and that life in retirement with or without work is the best years of your life.