Making a post retirement career work for you

You've worked hard, saved money and retired from a long career. Why would you ever want to go back to the daily grind? Well, for many retirees, it's not a grind at all — finding a new job or a new career after retirement can be a very fulfilling experience. That's one of the reasons why so many retirees are now re-entering the workforce.

Financial reasons are also an important factor in the decision. Ideally, people should be able to replace 70 percent of their pre-retirement income in preparation to leave the workforce. But a study from found that the average replacement income ratio among Americans 65 and older was just under 60 percent.1

That means there's often a gap between the money retirees have and the money they need to live comfortably. The income earned from a post-retirement career can help bridge that gap.

Post-retirement employment can benefit more than just your wallet. According to the American Psychological Association, people who work after retiring tend to see improvements in their physical and mental health.2 Two out of five workers over the age of 70 say they're employed for non-financial reasons, like enjoyment or the desire to be productive.3

Groom yourself for success

So how do you get started? It may seem daunting to get back into business after retirement, but there are several ways retirees can boost their chances for success in the workforce:

Turn your passion into profit

Ending one career can be an opportunity to build a new one based on your passion. Take an idea that you you've always cared about but never had the time to pursue, and see if you can turn your personal interest into a money-making venture. Have you always loved to hike? Use your experience to become a hiking guide for tourists. Are you a lifelong knitter? Try selling some of your creations online.

Fill the missing pieces

Depending on how long you've been retired, there may be some things you're unfamiliar with, so it's always helpful to plug these gaps. If you're inexperienced working with social media, for example, consider reading up on the subject or taking some professional training courses to flesh out your knowledge.

Lean on the people you know

You've met a lot of people over the course of your life, and that network of colleagues, associates, friends, and family can be an invaluable resource for getting ahead. Reach out to your connections to find new positions, and if you're going the entrepreneurial route, use your network to secure suppliers, customers, and sales leads.

Find a healthy balance

When taking on a new role, don't try to tackle too much at a time and remember to delegate responsibilities whenever it's prudent. Aim for a good balance between work and personal time so you can keep enjoying this new phase of your life.

Pick a path that's right for you

Even if you're entering a completely new field, it's important to remember that you're not a beginner. You've already accumulated deep wells of experience, so you should look for a career path that complements that expertise, as well as one that accommodates the post-retirement life you've created for yourself.

Here are a few post-retirement career ideas to consider, especially if you're interested in being your own boss:

Becoming a consultant

Given your experience, many companies would be eager to tap into the network and knowledge you've built over the years.

Doing professional speaking

Like consulting, this can be a good way to turn your accumulated expertise into career success.

Creating an online business

Working on the web can provide you with flexibility to earn income while avoiding the daily commute and freeing yourself up to travel.

Retirement doesn't always mean the end of work. If you need to supplement your savings, have career goals you still want to meet, or simply feel the itch to return to work, a post-retirement career can be a rewarding way to spend your time.

1“Retirement Income Study.” October 2014.

2Zhan, Yujie., Wang, Mo., Liu, Songqi., and, Shultz, Kenneth S. “Bridge Employment and Retirees’ Health: A Longitudinal Investigation.” American Psychological Association.  Journal of Occupational Health Psychology 2009, Vol. 14, No. 4, 374–389.

3Brown, S. Kathi. “What Are Older Workers Seeking? An AARP/SHRM Survey of 50+ Workers.”  AARP Research & Strategic Analysis. June 2012.