"If you’re like some people, however, the idea of a full-time retirement might not be very appealing," says David Lerner, Founder of David Lerner Associates. "Maybe you really enjoy what you do for a living, and you’re healthy and see no reason to stop working just because you’ve reached the so-called “retirement age.”
At the same time, though, you might want to slow down the pace a little bit and not work as many hours. Or maybe you’re not necessarily crazy about the job you have now, but you would like to work at a less-stressful job, or one that has more personal meaning to you.
For people like this, full-time retirement can actually end up being more stressful than their working years as they struggle to fill their time with meaningful activities that will keep their minds sharp and their bodies active. Instead, they may choose to continue working during their retirement years, usually on a part-time basis and often in a different (and less stressful) career.
Continuing to work in retirement obviously has financial benefits as well. The ongoing income stream, even if it’s just from a part-time job, can supplement your retirement savings and help your retirement nest egg last longer.
If this sounds like you, here are five questions to ask yourself as you consider what a “working retirement” might look like and how you’ll accomplish this:
1. What does your spouse think about it?You don’t want to make a decision this important without discussing it with your spouse. He or she might be looking forward to a full-time retirement full of travel, recreation, visiting family or just relaxing together. If so, talk it through together and try to come up with a compromise that makes you both happy.
2. Can you scale back from full-time to part-time in your current job?A gradual transition into retirement makes sense for many people who aren’t quite ready to retire full-time on day one. Ask your employer if it’s possible for you to work fewer hours a week in your current job, or maybe transfer into a different job that requires fewer hours.
3. Can you find a part-time job doing something you truly enjoy or are passionate about?Of course, you can volunteer to help out charities or other causes you believe in, but also ask them if they might have any paid part-time positions available. The same goes for hobbies or recreational activities you enjoy; for example, many country clubs hire retirees to work as golf course rangers or in the pro shop.
4. If you’re self-employed, can you gradually start reducing your workload?One of the great things about self-employment is the flexibility it gives you to work as much or as little as you want (assuming you’re financially secure). You could start reducing the number of clients you serve, either by letting less-profitable and more demanding clients go or not taking on any new clients. This might enable you to gradually ease your way into full-time retirement over a set number of years.
5. If you own a business, can you sell it and stay on part-time?Purchasers of closely held businesses often welcome the presence of the selling owner for a set period of time after the sale, since it can help the transition go more smoothly for both customers and employees. Discuss this with the purchaser during negotiations and include the provisions for such an arrangement (length of engagement, number of hours you’ll work per week or month, compensation, etc.) in the formal purchase agreement.