Ask Dr. Deborah | I’m Not Ready to Retire
Dear Dr. Deborah,
I’m 67 years old and I’m not ready to retire. Unfortunately, I’ve worked for my current employer for 20 years and while they’re not forcing me out, they expect me to choose to retire soon. I don’t mind cutting back a little bit, but I don’t want to stop working altogether. What are my options? I just don’t know where to start.
Petering but not pooped,
You’re not alone. Yesterday’s 70 years on earth is more like 50 years today. There’s still a lot of value to contribute and satisfaction to be gained in the process!
Many individuals in your situation are considering self-employment as an excellent alternative to retirement. Self-employment allows you to work how, when, and where you want. It also offers flexibility for creating more balance between play time and work time.
Self-employment isn’t the only alternative to retirement either. There’s also part-time employment and even volunteer opportunities that can be satisfying. A good place to determine what’s right for you is to start with some basis questions. What do you want to do, what lifestyle do you want, and what are your plans for the future? You may think you’re too old for a new career, but it’s never too late to start something new!
Consider the following activities to help you answer these and other relevant questions as you weigh your options.
- Self-Inventory: Make a list of the things that you enjoy doing and are good at.
- Identify Opportunities: What’s trending in the workplace in these areas? Consider visiting the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook to get a sense of growth areas and areas in decline. Pay particular attention to related fields that branch off of job titles. Keep in mind as well that many jobs listed there can also be done as an independent contractor or on a part-time basis
- Be True to Your Values: Develop a clear understanding about what you want from your life today and into the future. This includes prioritizing what’s important such as family, friends, financial security, travel, etc.
- Map Out Your Future: Create a vision board that contains pictures, words, symbols and other elements that you want to include in your life going forward. Take your time building this. The process of consciously choosing what to include will help you to further visualize and so manifest your goals in ways that enhance the likelihood of their coming true.
- Celebrate Every Step: As you embark on this exciting new phase of your life, acknowledge and celebrate every achievement regardless of how small. Doing so will reinforce that you’re moving along the right path for you, and prepare you for expecting more progress ahead!
There are two things in life that all of us have in limited supply: time and energy. Use both wisely to optimize your situation at every phase of your life. It’s simply about choosing to live the life you want versus allowing others to define it for you.