For many older workers, the prospect of retirement is lurking just around the corner, but there may be options, like part-time work, that you haven’t seriously considered. Maybe you’re excited about finally being able to have more time to accomplish things. Perhaps you’re scared about what to expect financially. Whatever your feelings about retirement, it’s time to start thinking about your next steps.
Money is a frequent issue when it comes to retirement concerns. Many workers, across generations, are anxious about future finances. Workers from Baby Boomers to Gen Xers fear that they may outlive their retirement savings, and many are afraid that Social Security will not be around at all when they retire.
For those workers that are nervous and unsure about their upcoming retirement, one increasingly attractive option is transitioning from full-time to part-time work. This transition can come in the form of retiring and picking up a new part-time job or remaining with a current employer and merely cutting back on hours worked. Regardless of how you do it, a transition like this can often be the change you’re looking for.
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Why You Should Consider Part-Time Work
There are many reasons why choosing a part-time option can be preferable to total retirement. Here are four to consider:
As mentioned above, money is the primary cause of worry. Fluctuations in the market, pension plans running out, cutting back on so-called entitlements — all of these can affect how much money you have for your retirement. Part-time work can help satisfy some of your financial needs while giving a small break to your savings, thereby alleviating a little stress.
For many, the idea of sitting at home, disconnected from the world, is a horrible one. A part-time job can give you a chance to be out in it, meeting and connecting with new people every day. You could even consider moving to your dream retirement location and finding work that fulfills some of your deepest passions and may allow you to meet and connect with some other individuals with those same passions.
If you don’t relish the idea of not having a set schedule day-to-day, then why not consider a job that gets you out of the house on a regular basis, but also allows you more freedom and off-hours for recreation? Working part-time is a great way to stay active, and maintain tip-top health, rather than spending time watching television because you just aren’t quite sure what else to do that day.
Keeping Your Identity
Let’s face it — we pull a lot of “who we are” from our career and the responsibilities and respect associated, that we spent so long building. Once that job ends completely, many find themselves with a feeling that they are starting completely over. Spending their new ‘free’ time trying to figure out their new identity and place in this world. A part-time job can give a sense of purpose and a reason to get out of bed in the morning.
How to Go Part-Time
If transitioning to part-time work sounds like a great way to begin the next phase of your life, then the obvious question is, “How do I do this?” There are three different ways you can make this change, depending on your status and what you’re looking toward:
Cut Back on Existing Hours
The easiest way to make this transition is to simply stay put. If you like where you work (and it’s easy to assume you do — otherwise, you probably wouldn’t have stayed there long enough to make a career out of it) — then the most logical step is to talk to your employer about staying on, but working less.
When you think about it, this is often the perfect solution. You know the company; they know you. There’s no awkward transition time, no reason to feel you have to prove yourself. Instead of being the new kid on the block, you’re often seen instead as a valuable asset with wisdom and experiences to share with the newest generation of organizational leaders.
The only problem? Not all employers offer this sort of plan, but that also may be just because no one has really asked or offered before. Just because it’s not something you’ve seen done, doesn’t mean it may not be something they would consider (or even value). So, don’t feel intimidated to have an open and honest talk with your employer early about the potential for this option. They may be just as happy to keep you in any capacity they can.
Find a New Part-Time Gig
Another relatively easy option is to find a part-time job at a new place. The good news about this is the freedom — you can go anywhere that wants to hire you! It doesn’t have to be in the same field; it can be a meaningful job or just an easy way to pass some time each day. The choice is up to you, and the options are endless.
The problem, of course, comes from the fact that you might not like where you end up. You’re now at the bottom of the totem pole again, and as a part-time retiree, you’re not going to have many opportunities to change that. If this doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, then you might need to reconsider, or go after the third option:
Instead of spending your retirement working part-time for others, why not work for yourself as a consultant? Having decades of work under your belt makes you a valuable and knowledgeable commodity, and there are many firms out there that will pay well for the chance to learn from your wisdom and experience. What’s more, you can choose your jobs, work your own hours, and charge your own fees. As a self-employed consultant, you have full and total independence — and consultants can often pull in big money once they’re skills are recognized.
As you can see, retirement doesn’t have to be a full-time sentence. There are many reasons why a part-time gig may be the way to go, and there are several ways for you to get there.