From the time I took my first job washing cars at age 15 to the day I retired, working kept money flowing into my bank account. I needed money, and so I had to work (no silver spoon here). A few weeks back, I penned an article highlighting how most older folks fear running out of money more than death. Several readers suggested that continuing to work as long as possible is the best way to quell that fear. Could the solution be that simple?
One of the most successful executives I have ever worked with is a friend of mine named John. A few months ago, he announced that he had “flunked” retirement and was back at work, doing consulting on his own terms. He certainly does not need the money, but retirement bored him. He felt like he had a lot of tread left and plans to keep working as long as it’s still fun.
I have another friend, Nate, who was also very successful in his first career and retired relatively young. Sailing was his lifelong passion, and he immediately became a sailing instructor. Now he delivers boats all over the world, and says things to his “first mate” like, “Honey, do you feel like going on a cruise to Trinidad?” She can say “yes” or suggest he take one of his other retired buddies with him on the job.
My wife Jo and I bought a new motorhome when we first retired. There are several motorhome manufacturers in the Pacific Northwest that hire retirees to deliver their products from the factory to customers all over the country. Some folks make the delivery and fly home. Others tow their car behind the motorhome, bring their spouse, and take a leisurely drive back. The driver who delivered our motorhome to Tampa plans a trip with his wife every other month around his “job,” and they love it.
In all three of these instances, retirees are setting their own schedules, and they only choose the jobs they want to do. On top of that, these folks really enjoy their work. Job stress is virtually nonexistent, and their projects pay pretty well to boot.
Plug the Money Leak
Folks on either side of the retirement cusp fall into a few different groups:
- People who have saved too little to retire and likely must keep working in order to survive.
- People who have retired but are spending at a much faster pace than they anticipated.
- People who saved money and spend modestly, but are still not sure their nest egg will last.
- People who are retired and have enough money, but are just plain bored.
- People who have hobbies that could be turned into moneymakers.
As my regular readers know, I am adamant that retirees are all money managers. Our primary job is to tend our nest egg and continue to learn about investing. The time and money invested in a financial education will pay off a hundredfold compared to what one could earn from a low-paying job.
A second job at Walmart (WMT) is not the most efficient route to financial freedom. If you’re earning minimum wage but your retirement account is leaking because of mismanagement, your time could be spent more effectively by focusing on your financial education. However, if you can work part-time at a job you actually like, why not do both?
The Ideal Second Act
For most folks, the ideal post-retirement job:
- Has flexible hours
- Is fun
- Is something your spouse can easily support
- Promotes longevity as opposed to detracting from it
- Brings emotional rewards
- Allows time to still look after your nest egg
- Makes money
Working during retirement can be fulfilling, as the examples of my friends Nate and John show. But they are working on their own terms, and money is not their primary motivation. I have been officially retired for several years now, and while I put more time in to our weekly and monthly publications than I could have ever imagined, it hardly feels like work.
Our first careers were hard work, and now we have to work to stay on top of our retirement finances. That’s probably why you’re reading this article today: you know you have to continually teach yourself how to be your own money manager.