Appearance career? 5 tips for a second career in retirement

For many of today’s retirees, the secret to a successful retirement is paradox; Successful retirement actually means working.

But this kind of work may look different from the career you’ve held for 40 years. Instead, there are a host of second careers that today’s retirees are pursuing.

“People today say, ‘I don’t want to be sitting on my porch when I retire,’” says Judy Lansky, a resident of Chicago, Illinois, president and founder of Lansky Career Consultants.

Many people choose to pursue a second career or “emerge” after retirement, not because they are financially strapped. They are searching for meaning. “They want to do something interesting, challenging, and get them out with other people,” she says.

While the lure of a new career may keep many Americans engaged in the workforce, there are important considerations to make before embarking on a second career for retirees, Lansky advises.

If you’re one of the many Americans approaching retirement, eager to start life’s next chapter with a new career, here are three tips.

1. Know what you want from a second career

A successful second career may challenge your identity. At best, you can find work:

  • It offers you the hours (part-time or full-time) and flexibility you want, plus the salary and benefits you need
  • It puts you closer to the people you want to spend time with
  • Includes tasks that make you happy

So, where do you start by figuring out what you want to do with the rest of your life? Many seniors say that thinking about a retirement job actually reminds them of being in high school or college and trying to decide who they are and what they want to be.

If this is you, you may want to consider using some of these resources to determine what you want from a second career.

the Occupational Outlook Guide It is an excellent and comprehensive source for learning about different professions. You can learn about the work environment, salary, job outlook, education requirements, and much more.

There are also a large number of books that can help you decide how you might want to spend the rest of your life. Options include:

2. Be honest about your time commitment to your second career

Starting a new second career takes a lot of time and effort, and it’s important to be honest about how much time you want to devote to a new professional endeavor.

“That’s the difference between a hobby and a career,” Lansky says. “Some people may realize they’re really looking for something part-time. Maybe they want to spend Tuesdays and Thursdays with the grandkids. Working 40 to 50 hours a week may not be realistic.

Some of the time needed to transition into a new career can be tied to learning new skills, she says, noting that you may need to take classes or other types of training courses to get started in a new field.

“Sometimes skills move on to the next field, but it’s not always that easy,” she says.

Taking any required training courses while you’re at your current workplace can help make the transition to a new career much easier and faster, she says.

3. Learn the ins and outs of your next career after retirement

The grass is always greener on the other side, and it’s important to do your homework before moving into a new role, advises Lansky.

Sometimes, those entering a new field discover that the role they wanted isn’t what they imagined.

“Talking to people in your new chosen field, and even following someone up can be a very good thing,” she says. “You want to learn more about it, but also figure out if you really want it.”

For those who know a switch is right for them, start building a network in this new field now, before taking on the new role.

“You’re going to need that network to make a change in your career,” she says, noting that having an established professional network will also make the transition easier.

4. Embrace your inner youth to achieve success in your second career

Your new career may have you working alongside millennials, and it’s important to show your new employer that you can collaborate with them.

Older employees have a lot of sophistication and experience to contribute to any organization, and keeping up with the latest trends and technology is an important way to make sure your strengths aren’t overlooked, Lansky says.

5. Update or create your retirement plan with a second career in mind

Working in retirement can affect many details of your overall retirement plan: retirement income, health benefits, taxes, how you should invest, and much more.

It is important for you to understand the (mostly positive) implications of your overall plan. The best retirement calculators — like the NewRetirement Retirement Planner — will let you enter information about your retirement functions and will show you how they will impact your finances now and in the future.

Pursuing a second career can be very rewarding, but it is not without its challenges. Being prepared for what the new role entails will make your later years more enjoyable, Lansky says.

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