Is A Retirement Career Right For You?

By Mark P. Cussen, CFP®, CMFC, AFC | November 25, 2012 AAA

For many older workers, the prospect of retirement has become increasingly bleak. A landscape filled with boredom, lack of purpose and rising healthcare costs often seems to stretch away into the horizon, and the sources of income that will be used to fund the final leg of their journey seem to be dwindling. One possible solution to this dilemma is for retirees to continue working in some capacity. But if you balk at the idea of staying on at your current job after your target retirement date, then perhaps an alternative form of employment would better fit your needs.

Advantages of Working in Retirement
Although the idea of continuing to work for a few more years may not sound appealing at first, there are several reasons why you should consider this strategy.

Increased Income
Working 20 hours a week at $12 an hour comes to about $1,000 a month. You would need $400,000 of principal earning at 3% to get an equivalent amount of investment income. Although you won't live comfortably off of this, it may allow you to postpone withdrawals from your liquid retirement assets for a while longer so that they can continue to grow.

More Social Security Benefits
Your personal savings may not be the only thing that working another job could enable you to postpone. If you are willing to work until you are 70, then you can get the maximum possible Social Security benefit for the rest of your life.

Improved Health
Numerous studies have shown that there is a direct correlation between continued employment and one's health and mobility. This makes sense since you will have to stay mentally sharp and physically fit as long as you continue to work. Keeping your health up will not only feel good, but it will also help in your retirement funds.

Fulfillment
Working a second job in retirement can provide you with the opportunity to do something that you've always wanted to do, such as serve a cause that you believe in or indulge in a hobby that circumstances previously prevented you from enjoying. You will also have the chance to make new acquaintances and face new challenges.

Career Opportunities
Both the perceptions and capabilities of older workers are changing rapidly, and there are more job opportunities for retirees now than ever before. Some of the career paths that are available to you include:

Bartending
This career is good for those who enjoy talking to other people and can pay surprisingly well with minimal training. Bartending is one of the best jobs for tips.

Makeup Artist
If you are good with color, makeup and style, then this could be the ideal part-time gig for you. Makeup artists can earn as much as $40 an hour and put in an average of 20 hours a week. The training and qualification requirements for this can vary, and licensure is required by some states. Some makeup artists even receive full benefits.

Work-at-Home Jobs
This segment of the employment network is rapidly expanding. Many customer service agents work from home and earn competitive wages.

Uncle Sam

The IRS hires seasonal employees during tax season and pays an excellent wage. USAjobs.gov can provide a listing of what's currently available.

The Bottom Line
Your health and family situation will obviously play a major role in determining what career option is best for you. If you are starting to have trouble getting around, then working at home may be your best bet. If you are in good health and have been dying to travel all your life, then a job in the transportation industry might be worth a shot. But be sure to examine your taxes and Social Security benefits before you begin. If you earn part-time income before you reach your full Social Security retirement age, then you can inadvertently reduce your benefits if you earn more than a certain amount. Most of these pitfalls can be avoided with proper planning. For more information on careers during retirement, consult an employment agency and talk with your financial advisor.

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