Is retirement work something you wish you didn’t have to think about?
Most of our parents didn’t have to worry about working in retirement. But a lot of us over 50 are realizing we will need to continue working past traditional retirement age just to make ends meet.
Many of us boomers want to continue contributing in some way. But we also want to have a choice. We hoped to be able to retire on our terms when we were ready. It’s easy to feel resentment and even anger that things aren’t turning out the way we “planned” them to be.
Getting Clear About Your Reasons for Retirement Work
That brings me to the fifth (and last) of the success strategies for job seekers over age 55 as mentioned in the MetLife study, “Buddy, Can you Spare a Job?” The study found that many people are sabotaging their own interviews due to their ambivalence about having to continue working. They aren’t 100% committed to the job search process.
Are you feeling the same way? Maybe you know you need retirement work for financial reasons, but your heart’s just not in it.
Here’s what the study recommends:
1. First, get clear about your actual financial needs in “retirement”.
Either crunch the numbers yourself or hire a financial advisor. I know – this is not fun (unless you love that type of thing), but most people underestimate things like health care costs and the impact of reduced investment income.
Once you’ve got a handle on your projected needs, figure out what the sources of your retirement income are likely to be. Get your head out of the sand and stop thinking that things will magically be O.K. (I’m guilty of this, too). Reevaluate what you really need to have. Cut back on expenses and find ways to simplify your lifestyle, if needed. Looking at your actual needs may resolve your mixed feelings about retirement work right away!
2. Then, manage your ambivalence.
Addressing your ambivalence about having to work involves gathering information so you can make informed decisions. By calculating and knowing how much money you’ll need to save for retirement, you’ll be clear about why you need to continue working. You’ll also be in a position to make the work you do a part of your total retirement plan. Being armed with knowledge equips you to come from a place of confidence when interviewing for jobs.
Can’t Retire On Your Terms Anymore? Then Find a Way to Work on Your Terms!
I agree with the study – being fully aware of your financial reasons for continuing to work is important. But I also believe it’s important to take a look at what you want to be doing. Maybe your ambivalence about retirement work is because you’re not passionate about the work itself. If you have to work, you may as well find some enjoyment in it.
This can be an opportunity to get clear about what you do want. If traditional retirement is no longer possible, then find a way to redefine it in terms that will work for you.
What Work Would Work For You?
We tend to get stuck in looking at things from outdated perspectives, from “rules” that no longer apply. Too many people figure they have to go back to doing work they hate, because it’s what they know how to do. Think outside the box this time. Look beyond the work you’ve become accustomed to.
Finding your passion and getting in touch with what excites you can lead to retirement work that you would not only enjoy doing, but that could be a much better fit for you. Have you considered more flexible work alternatives (such as a portfolio career, contract or part-time work assignments, or self-employment) that would allow you to blend your work and life in a way that better suits you?
Think about it. What kind of retirement work could you be passionate about?
In case you missed them, here are links to the other four job search strategies:
- Navigating the New Job market After 50 – understanding the new realities in the job market
- Finding a Job After 50 Takes More Than Experience – translating your experience into a value proposition
- Job Search Networking After 50 – making career networking work for you
- Updating Your Computer Skills: Important for Finding Work After 50 – being open to learning new skills