Working life goes on for serial retirees

"If you were traveling down a road and a bridge was out and you didn't have any warning, you might not be able to stop before you went off it," he says. "But if you had some warning, you'd be able to detour around it. That's what retirement financial planning does -- it gives you notice as to potential problems down the road and helps you plan around them."

He recommends a consultation with a financial planner who can describe various scenarios to give you a better idea of what steps to take going forward. "While there are lots of retirement calculators on the Web, they have different assumptions and can't fully take into account your personal situation the way a trained financial planner can," he says.

Re-careering choices
If you determine that you need to continue to work, what are the options? Studies identify a number of trends when it comes to serial retirement (also known as phased retirement or re-careering).

This work force can be divided into several categories:
  • Phased retirees who continue to work for the same employer but in a reduced capacity.
  • Partial retirees who work part-time for a different employer.
  • Job changers -- those who work full-time for a different employer.
  • Consultants or freelancers who run a sole proprietorship, working as independent contractors for a former employer or employers, usually from an outside office.
  • Entrepreneurs who start a business or buy a franchise that employs others.
  • Temp to permanent -- those who sign up with a temporary employment agency with the intention of transitioning to full-time work.
  • Temporary workers who work part-time or full-time through a temp agency for a variety of employers.

While older workers increasingly profess interest in continuing to work, the actual average retirement age continues to be 62. Half of all those in the work force are currently retiring at age 62 and that trend is expected to continue, an AARP study shows. While older workers are more likely to be self-employed, the number of self-employed -- 16 percent -- is still fairly small compared with those who work for others.


"In my experience, about one-fourth of those who work in retirement do so because they want to and can afford to change careers, but most are looking for work because they have to," says Bob Skladany, vice president of research for, a company that helps serial retirees find work. "This is especially true for workers ages 50 to 62, many of whom are downsized just when they are in a senior position and making a good salary with benefits."


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