According to experts on aging and longevity, the first humans expected to live to age 150 are already alive. One thing for certain is that retirement as we know it is going the way of the dodo bird. After all who wants to be retired for 85 years?

It is not just about the money, although working beyond 65 would be a huge plus for many boomers anticipating a major shortfall in their retirement savings. I’m sure we can all agree that the motivation for Warren Buffett, at 80, to go into the office every day is not the money.

For the fortunate few that have found work they are truly passionate about, working beyond 65 may have been part of the plan all along. If you truly love what you do and you have the option to continue, why wouldn’t you? Most successful entrepreneurs consider themselves in this group.

For the vast majority of us who have spent their careers working for the man…not so much. Although I consider my 30+ years as a sales executive in the consumer products industry a successful career with some terrific achievements and memories along the way, I can honestly say it was never a career that I was passionate about.

Having engaging work past retirement age is a priority for me, once this was established, I knew immediately that it would not be in the consumer products industry. It has given me both the motivation and opportunity, a second chance so to speak, to find work that that is both exciting and engaging.

“On one hand, it’s daunting to contemplate embarking on a new career at this stage in life. On the other hand, it’s liberating to “let go of the past” and forge a new identity based on “things that you find exciting, stimulating, or interesting,” says Ron Ashkenas, a Senior Partner at Schaffer Consulting

Five things to consider as you navigate toward your encore career:

  1. Don’t Rush – Recognize that finding work that is significant and fulfilling could take two to three years. Don’t be afraid to go back to school if the work you have identified will require new skills
  2. Make Sure you Design your Life in Retirement Before your Career – If one of your priorities in retirement is to travel one month out of every year, you will need an encore career that will accommodate this.
  3. Ask Yourself What is Really Important – Your goal at this point is to determine what your priorities are at this juncture of your life. It is the opportunity to follow your heart,  give back , begin your legacy.
  4. Be Willing to Experiment – Find ways to dabble in things that interest you (internships, part-time). If it sounds like it would be fun and interesting, do it. Also look for ways to transfer your hard earned skills and expertise to new domains. Look to take the competencies you have and apply them to new environments.
  5. Don’t Forget Volunteer Opportunities – If additional retirement income is not a priority volunteering can be both a terrific way to give back along with delivering all the benefits that a great encore career can provide.

I am presently reading What’s Next? by Kerry Hannon. This is one of many books that do a terrific job of telling the stories of people that have successfully navigated the transition to terrific encore careers.

As President of Your Future Reimagined (YFR) Coaching and Consulting, I help professionals/executives successfully transition to enjoyable and enriching retirements. mkennedy@yourfuturereimagined.com


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