Financial advisors are offering dire warnings: You will never be able to stop working. It’s true that we are living for longer and few people have made sufficient financial provision for a traditional retirement at 60. Yes, you will probably have to earn for more years. The upside is that if you can find something you love doing, you’ll be busy, stimulated and fulfilled for many more years of your life, and you can afford a better lifestyle.
Start planning nowAs with anything else, having a successful second career after retirement takes some planning. Here are some things that you can do (or think about) now, to prepare yourself for your semi-retirement.
Learn something new
Don’t wait until you’re on the brink of retirement to acquire new skills. When you are in the later part of your career, you’ll find that you have more time on your hands than when you were running around after children or teenagers. You can use this extra time to study something entirely new or different – there’s really no holding you back from starting an entirely new career. You can go through a formal degree or diploma process if you want to requalify, or you can make use of free online training resources just to expand your knowledge about certain fields or subjects.
Start an “ideas” file
Keep a folder or scrap book of ideas that occur to you for future work. Every time you think of something that you might be able to do, make a note of it and when you have some free time, do a bit of research to flesh out the concept. Find out what qualifications you need, what the demand is or what the costs involved might be. Often, thinking turns to doing without too much effort and you’ll be on your way.
Never stop networking
Always keep an ear to the ground for opportunities in your social and professional circle and never stop putting yourself forward if you have the right skills or attitude for a job that’s on offer. Look for potential partnerships, knowledge-sharing opportunities or small jobs that could lead to bigger things. Become your own champion now, so that you’ve laid the groundwork for retirement success.
Some options for your non-retirementHere are some possible jobs and services that suit a person in semi-retirement. See if any of them would work for you.
The most obvious solution for continuing to earn during retirement, is to continue to do what you’re best at, but deliver it as a consulting service. This is straightforward for people with professional qualifications like law or accounting degrees, but other professionals can also offer their stills. Office administrators can now find work as virtual assistants online through platforms like the Virtual Assistants Association of South Africa (VAASA). Teachers can find jobs supervising homework or tutoring specific subjects. Think about whether your skills set can be offered to clients on a consulting basis and work out how to set that up for your specific industry or area of expertise.
Prepare for part-timing
While it can be a relief to bid farewell to the grind of the 8 to 5, many people miss the camaraderie of an office environment. A great way to reconnect with this space and earn some money is to work part time. You may be able to convert your full-time job into a part-time one. Or you might want to look for something totally different and find part-time work in a friendly office or shop. There are many places that specifically recruit retirees (check out www.indeed.co.za/Retired-jobs). The site www.recruitmymom.co.za also does a roaring trade in recruiting grans, not just moms, so it’s also worth visiting.
Buy (or start) a business
Retirees can enjoy business ownership when they’ve come to the end of their careers. This, more than any other retirement job, requires careful advance planning. If you think you’d like to venture into late-life entrepreneurship, start saving NOW to be able to invest in a small business that you run when you retire. It might even be possible to get it up and running part-time or with the help of family before you retire, so that it’s a going - and hopefully earning - concern. Be sure to research the type of business you would like to run very carefully, as entrepreneurship is a very demanding endeavour and there’s no guarantee of success.
Check out these ten steps to starting a business, and get inspired by these entrepreneurs who started building their empires later in life.
Use your hobbies
You might be able to turn your hobby into a job, or an additional earner. For instance, if you are a keen painter, you might give lessons, or sell your paintings.
Consider family support
Discuss with your children (or your nieces and nephews!) whether you could help with the care of their children. Many parents pay for creche, au pairs, nannies, after-school care, homework supervisors or drivers for their kids, and would much rather pay a family member that they trust to do the job. This can be a great way to help out, earn an income and spend more time with your grandchildren or other young family members.
Here’s to a happy and productive retirementWhile retirements are certainly getting longer, and money is only getting tighter, it’s good to know that planning now could result in a stable source of income later in life. Don’t worry about your distant or not-too-distant retirement but start imagining with optimism what you can achieve after you’ve left your full-time employment.