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The Color of Money

Book looks at those whose ‘retirement’ plans include work

For many people, dreams of an early retirement are fading if not blacked out.

The reality is that a lot of folks will still be working well into their senior years — if they can. A retirement survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute found that 70 percent of workers said they plan to work for pay even after they retire. And the age at which workers expect to retire continues to rise.

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“The vision of people 50-plus spending their retirement years gardening, golfing, and lounging on the beach is out,” says Kerry Hannon, who writes the Great Jobs for Retirees column for AARP.

But there’s a difference in the people who say they will continue working in retirement. Hannon notes that they aren’t retirees looking for part-time supplemental work or to stave off boredom.

“What’s different now is that baby boomers are either continuing to work much longer or approaching work not as an afterthought but as a pillar of their ‘retirement’ plans,” she writes in this month’s Color of Money Book Club selection, “Great Jobs for Everyone 50+: Finding Work that Keeps You Happy and Healthy . . . and Pays the Bills.”

Yes, there are financial reasons to stay put in your job if you’re 50 or older. You may need to continue building your savings, Hannon says.

However, she writes, studies show that for people over 50, it’s also important to be engaged and stay engaged.

In her early 50s, Hannon talks from experience.

She uses other people’s experiences to also make the case for good and fulfilling retirement jobs that pay the bills. She encourages encore careers where you pursue something different than your current employment. An example she cites is a high school assistant superintendent who became a personal fitness trainer.

There are two parts to the book. The first provides employment ideas — 10 chapters worth — from seasonal and part-time jobs to those that ride the age wave, the latter involving opportunities catering to the 50 and over crowd.

“There is something here for everyone, a virtual smorgasbord,” Hannon writes.

In addition to a job description, Hannon provides average pay information, hours, qualifications needed, and job-hunting tips. The pay-range figures in part come from Labor Department data.

In the second half of the book, you’ll find advice on using social media to job hunt, how to volunteer your way to a job, how to become your own boss, and ways to conquer your fear of making a career change.

Someone once suggested to me that the American dream shouldn’t be to stop working when you retire. Work for life, he said. I thought he was loopy. I’ve looked forward to the rest and relief from constant deadlines. But then I realized that I probably will never stop working. I like being a productive part of something — and getting a regular paycheck. Let Hannon help you find work that keeps you healthy, happy, and paid.

Michelle Singletary writes for the Washington Post. She can be reached at singletarym@washpost.com.
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