From the time I took my first job washing cars at age 15 to the day I retired, working kept money flowing into my bank account. I needed money, and so I had to work (no silver spoon here). A few weeks back, I penned an article highlighting how most older folks fear running out of money more than death. Several readers suggested that continuing to work as long as possible is the best way to quell that fear. Could the solution be that simple?

One of the most successful executives I have ever worked with is a friend of mine named John. A few months ago, he announced that he had "flunked" retirement and was back at work, doing consulting on his own terms. He certainly does not need the money, but retirement bored him. He felt like he had a lot of tread left and plans to keep working as long as it's still fun.

I have another friend, Nate, who was also very successful in his first career and retired relatively young. Sailing was his lifelong passion, and he immediately became a sailing instructor. Now he delivers boats all over the world, and says things to his "first mate" like, "Honey, do you feel like going on a cruise to Trinidad?" She can say "yes" or suggest he take one of his other retired buddies with him on the job.

My wife Jo and I bought a new motorhome when we first retired. There are several motorhome manufacturers in the Pacific Northwest that hire retirees to deliver their products from the factory to customers all over the country. Some folks make the delivery and fly home. Others tow their car behind the motorhome, bring their spouse, and take a leisurely drive back. The driver who delivered our motorhome to Tampa plans a trip with his wife every other month around his "job," and they love it.

In all three of these instances, retirees are setting their own schedules, and they only choose the jobs they want to do. On top of that, these folks really enjoy their work. Job stress is virtually nonexistent, and their projects pay pretty well to boot.

Plug the Money Leak

Folks on either side of the retirement cusp fall into a few different groups:

  • People who have saved too little to retire and likely must keep working in order to survive.
  • People who have retired but are spending at a much faster pace than they anticipated.
  • People who saved money and spend modestly, but are still not sure their nest egg will last.
  • People who are retired and have enough money, but are just plain bored.
  • People who have hobbies that could be turned into moneymakers.

As my regular readers know, I am adamant that retirees are all money managers. Our primary job is to tend our nest egg and continue to learn about investing. The time and money invested in a financial education will pay off a hundredfold compared to what one could earn from a low-paying job.

A second job at Walmart is not the most efficient route to financial freedom. If you're earning minimum wage but your retirement account is leaking because of mismanagement, your time could be spent more effectively by focusing on your financial education. However, if you can work part-time at a job you actually like, why not do both?

The Ideal Second Act

For most folks, the ideal post-retirement job:

  • Has flexible hours
  • Is fun
  • Is something your spouse can easily support
  • Promotes longevity as opposed to detracting from it
  • Brings emotional rewards
  • Allows time to still look after your nest egg
  • Makes money

Working during retirement can be fulfilling, as the examples of my friends Nate and John show. But they are working on their own terms, and money is not their primary motivation. I have been officially retired for several years now, and while I put more time in to our weekly and monthly publications than I could have ever imagined, it hardly feels like work.

Our first careers were hard work, and now we have to work to stay on top of our retirement finances. That's probably why you're reading this article today: you know you have to continually teach yourself how to be your own money manager.

Some of my Money Forever subscribers are already retired, and some are a few years out. In either case, they have committed themselves to putting aside the time to become their own money managers: to continually educate themselves on handling their money. Remember: no one has more of a vested interest in you getting this right than you do.

From the very first issue of Money Forever our goal—my mission—has been to help those who truly want to take control of their retirement finances. I aim to give folks who have accumulated wealth a deeper understanding of how to create an income-producing portfolio. Our subscribers do not have to fear they won't have enough, whether retired or a few years out.

With that in mind, I'd like to invite you to give Money Forever a try. The current subscription rate is affordable—it's less than that of a typical morning newspaper, and a whole lot better for your portfolio. The best part is you can take advantage of our 90-day, no-risk offer. You can cancel for any reason or even no reason at all, no questions asked within the first 90 days and receive a full, immediate refund. As you might expect, our cancellation rates are very low, and we aim to keep it that way. Click here to find out more.

Dennis Miller is the author of “Retirement Reboot”, a book chronicling his own journey to save his retirement in a low yield, turbulent investing environment and providing readers with actionable ideas for getting their retirement finances back on track. He works with some of the country’s top investment managers, authors and analysts to tackle the financial challenges faced by today’s retirees. Working with analysts at Casey Research, Dennis created "Miller’s Money Forever," a newsletter that provides retirees, and those soon to be retired, with actionable recommendations on how to prepare and maintain a profitable retirement portfolio. Prior to retiring in 2008 Dennis ran a successful consulting business and authored several books on sales management. He was also a regular contributor to the American Management Association and an active international lecturer for 40 years. Find more of Dennis’ columns and latest special research reports at millersmoney.com or contact him at dennis@millersmoney.

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