Are you over 55 and looking at the job market in the rear view mirror? Most baby boomers see the current job market as a has-been. And after the past decade of unemployment highs, why wouldn’t we? If you’re trained, with excellent skills and capabilities, have even a wee bit of money in the bank, and a good plan, you can offer your services outside the job market as a contractor. The benefits to you are astounding!
- Skip the Corporate Scene and WORK Your Schedule
- Pass on rush hour traffic, and use Go-To-Meeting
- Time with Grandchildren, Spouse, and Friends
- Work from wherever you are.
And these are the benefits if you’re working in a digital world… Imagine if you’re a tradesman with your own business. You hire employees, increase the number of jobs on the market, train young people for jobs that will benefit them in the future, and set yourself free from the everyday grind. Plus, you have the added bonus of being a producer, long after you might have retired from proactively producing yourself.
One of my favorite stories growing up in a small town was a gentleman who spent years working for the tire shop, who decided as he entered retirement, to purchase the tire shop and manage it instead of working there. He’d trained his staff already, had been working with the office help for nearly thirty years, and the new people knew him, loved him, and were more than willing to keep working for him. He purchased the business, showed up two or three times a week for some “atta boys” and “atta girls” and retired with more than three times his previous salary!
Our community recently celebrated his 85th Birthday in the tire shop! I may never forget him, sitting on the stool at the counter in the front office, leaning on his cane, watching the gathering crowd with a slow grin spreading across his face. They were all there to celebrate him.
Baby Boomers Carry On
As with my friend Earl in his tire shop, baby boomers often seek to continue their life careers in some form as they reach retirement age. Perhaps not as a continuum of the actual career, but in a different capacity, or as a business owner. In many cases, baby boomers have shifted their years of service into a capital growing enterprise offering advice, outsource services, or even on the job training for new employees in their former career. At a premium?
Perhaps the biggest trend I’ve noticed is the number of baby boomers who choose not to take the cut in pay offered at retirement, but instead to build in a pay increase by owning the business.
As previous owners die off, or move into forced retirement, the business previously owned by generations of the same family may come on the market, and an experienced employee nearing retirement age will purchase the business. Here’s where experience counts. You already know what works and what doesn’t, because you’ve been doing it for years. You have the knowledge, knowhow, and expertise required to run the business, and you have one thing more.
You understand the employees need for more cash in their pockets. So you shift the long oiled gears of enterprise and open the door to more employee involvement, bringing in current workers as round table advisors. You already know they have great ideas, because you did too.
Boomer Stride Carries the Trend
Looking retirement in the face and shaking your head no, isn’t a new concept. For several generations now, the majority of people in that “retirement age” have seen the writing on the wall and worked long after the retirement checks started coming.
Mack, another retirement age gentleman, looked over the possibilities for retirement, and chose to pull together a security team to work on contract for a number of firms in the community. Instead of working for wages for one firm, he contracted to several firms and hired his own security team. While he often showed up to check out the security, his time was more often spent training new employees, managing his services, and enjoying a well planned retirement strategy.
Jesse, sat in my office asking me to write letters to Social Security, inviting them to keep his monthly income for someone who needed it. His annual income was such that he would never be beyond paying income tax on the business he built. He didn’t need the social security check that he’d paid into for so many years. And more, he didn’t really want it. His continued working days consisted of dinner meetings, breakfasts, and an occasional seminar. His wife and their secretary kept all the books done, and they spend many days each month traveling.
Retirement Is Optional
Working into retirement years has become a trend over many years, hardly new, and yet… Most consider their careers fulfilling and exciting enough to continue them in one way or other long after retirement might have taken them to Florida. Even there, some continue to work and design art, or write, or do one of the many creative jobs they can do from home.
Robert, an architect by trade, has spent his retirement years pursuing an interest in art. His work generates a bit of cash, but more importantly for him, his art gives him something of value to do with his time, and an experience he can share with others.
If you could design your life as you please, why not fulfill your career choices by hitting boomer stride in the retirement years and pursuing a new adventure. “Continuing your career in a way that offers personal satisfaction, some income, or more income than your career building days, and living with the benefits of always being productive has to be more appealing than a nap in an easy chair because you’re bored,” said Jesse, surrounded by his heirs, slowly taking over his business under his guiding hand.
For baby boomers, retirement is all about choices. Making choices that benefit your life, keep you actively involved and participating in the world of change and opportunity. But more than anything, it’s about pursuing your interests outside the traditional retirement plan.
Are you looking for retirement options? Do you have ideas you’d like to pursue? How about a business you’d like to leave to your grandchildren? You do have options.
Let’s discuss those...