This article appeared in the Chicago Tribune. Sally Haver, senior vice president of The Ayers Group/Career Partners International, is a featured contributor.
This year, the first wave of baby boomers is turning 66, the age at which they can claim social security. But that doesn't mean they're retiring.
"Retirement is rapidly becoming a myth for most baby boomers," says Bob Weinstein, author of "So What if I'm 65. Get a Job, Get the Most Out of Your Best Years" (Self-published, $9.99). "They are not working to stay busy, they're working for the same reason most people work: to support themselves, pay their bills, rent/mortgage and eat."
Weinstein, a career newspaper journalist, says people are working later into their lives than ever.
"More than 40 percent of Americans can't afford to retire," he says. "Four out of 10 Americans have retirement savings of less than $10,000. Three of 10 Americans have retirement savings of less than $1,000."
As such, a part-time or full-time job can make a big difference in a retiree's budget.
Beyond traditional benefits
Sally Haver, senior vice president of The Ayers Group/Career Partners International, a global career management firm, says there are perks to both full-time and part-time work.
"The advantages of less than full-time work are, obviously, the latitude to include more of your ‘passions' in your life that you didn't have time for before," Haver says. "The other side of the coin is that you'll be making less money. How much less depends on what you're doing, how your employer values your contribution, your geography, functional expertise."
Jennifer FitzPatrick, founder of Jenerations Health Education, Inc., which provides education, consulting and coaching in the field of geriatric health care, says she sees some retirement-aged workers continuing in their chosen field either because of passion for their profession, or because they want to mentor younger professionals. Haver, who is over 62, is one such example.
"I am still working full time, but working on establishing a ‘kinder, gentler' four-day work week," she says. "Let them use your expertise in a more consultative way."
FitzPatrick offers another idea. "Teaching as an adjunct instructor at a college can also be a fantastic way to work reasonable hours while in an intellectually stimulating environment."
On the flip side, some mature workers may wish to launch an altogether new career. "Other retirees are drawn to a part-time job to try the field ‘that got away,' " FitzPatrick says.
"For example, maybe the retiree had worked as an accountant but hated it. He went into accounting because that was his family business. Perhaps he always wanted to be a teacher. So, during retirement, he decides to get a part-time job as a tutor."
Haver says to examine your functional skills and see where they could be put to good use.
"Those over 62 usually learned to write well, for example," Haver says. "You could tutor English in a local school system, learn how to teach English as a second language, help local businesses prepare ad copy, etc."
Another option is to explore a field of service. ReServe, a national nonprofit, matches professionals 55 and older with part-time service work at nonprofits and public institutions for short- and long-term projects. All members earn a stipend of $10 per hour, which is paid by the organization that engages them, giving mature workers a chance to use their career's worth of skills to give back, and to remain engaged in the workforce.