For many, retirement signifies the end of work and a shift to a more relaxed lifestyle. However, sometimes a shift to a different kind of work is enough to create the lifestyle you dreamed up while planning for retirement.
For a number of people, retirement means the opportunity to pursue passion projects and set their own rules for work. Whether you’re close to retiring or still have a ways to go, consider these avenues retirees have taken, as well as the personal advice they offer after finding a fulfilling post-retirement career as…
A web designer
“The retirement ‘job’ should be the one you’ve always wanted to do or try. It is not about the money you will make, but the memories you will have.
“So often people think they should be doing something to help others. That’s fine. But this is a time in life to put yourself ‘first’ and do whatever it is that you’ve always wanted to do.
“I’ve always been a techie. It paid well. But I’ve always wanted to be an artist. It didn’t pay well (or at all!). Now I get to be both as a web designer.”
- Alan N. Canton, web designer
A family mediator
“After retiring, I earned certification and opened a private practice as a family mediator. Helping couples and ex-couples resolve legal issues by facilitating constructive negotiations is often very rewarding. They save thousands of dollars, avoid a lot of anxiety and distress, make good parenting plans and control the decisions about dividing assets and debts. I love being self-employed — doing the work I want to do the way I want to do it. Developing a web presence and a referral network was hard for me, but work/life balance has been pretty good. I work only as much as I want to, and I make my own schedule.
“If asked for advice, I would say choose meaningful work and then get help from a local small business development center to learn how to grow your business.”
- Virginia Colin, professional family mediator
“I have found a fulfilling career as an author, publishing e-books on Kindle, which can provide seniors a reliable passive income for years to come. Writing books, long or short ones, and rinsing and repeating the process, can provide a stable full-time or part-time income for the 50-plus crowd, of which I am a part. It’s fun, it’s exciting, it builds authority that many have never gained and it’s powerful. Everyone has a book within. Not everyone realizes that they can actually make a living at it, within weeks.”
- Lee Evans, author
“After retiring from my 37-year career as a probation officer, I attended an acting class for seniors for three years with my father starting when I was 60 and he was 85. We performed scenes I wrote in six class showcases before live audiences. As a result, I went on to became a professional actress in my senior years. Then, I became an author when I wrote a recently published memoir about it called, ‘Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class.’ I’m now also a speaker as I give talks about my book and to inspire baby boomers and seniors to find a passion as a motivation to embrace life. My ‘second act’ keeps me vital and dynamic, and makes me excited about life.”
- Lee Gale Gruen, actress, author, speaker
A fine craft artist and author
“My latest career is creating ornaments, pins and magnets from low fired clay. I do all the production work. My partner does all the painting, wiring and beading. We’re in our thirteenth year of supplying fine craft galleries without contemporary designs. I’m 75. My partner is in her forties. We live in two different states and work well together.”
- Pat Holt, artist and author
“I was a corporate pharmaceutical design engineer. Now I am an award-winning professional artist. I am pursuing my passion in ways I could not have when I was younger, building my career in biochemical engineering, and raising our three children. My advice, especially as it pertains to art would be, ‘Be tenacious in pursuit of your passion. Succeeding as a fine artist takes patience and persistence. Have no regrets. Have no excuses.’”
- Debra Keirce, artist
“The whole idea about retirement is that you now control how you spend your time. Make sure whatever you choose, you can afford to do it. That way you can continue to be ‘retired’ rather than forced to get another job. I retired on a Friday and on Monday, my husband and I started writing a book together. We just released our fifth book together and I started printing my fine art photography. When asked what we do for a living, we stopped saying we were retired. Instead we say we changed careers.”
- Carol Roullard, photographer and author
“I’ve started my retirement career three years before I retire. By the time I retire it will be a full-fledged business that will bring in a nice income and is just what I want to do. In fact it’s already bringing in a nice income, one I could actually live on now. I’m writing and self-publishing books.”
- Lloyd Tackitt, blogger and book author