There is a television commercial that asks the question, “Will You Outlive Your Money?” It is a thought that demands our attention. The Census Bureau lists the 90+ year- old population as one of the fastest growing age groups in America tripling over the past three decades. With a longer life expectancy the idea of having to work longer makes sense. The idea of working until age 65 has its roots in 1880s Germany when the life expectancy for males was 37.7 years old and 41.4 year old for females. As people live healthier longer lives, the idea of working even part-time past the old idea of retirement age has benefits beyond additional income. What if you have a job you absolutely cannot imagine performing in your 60s or 70s? The time to start thinking about your encore career is right now. Here are three steps to moving toward a job you love:
Changing Your Attitude
Psychologists confirm that thinking positively is the first step in changing your perception of work. Participants in a University of Wisconsin study confirmed that if you practice thinking positive thoughts throughout the day, you are likely to have an increased positive mental attitude toward work. Those who came into the work environment thinking negatively ended the day more sad and stressed.
While today’s job may not be your dream job; it’s harder to imagine a better situation when you are stressed out every day at work. One step to changing your attitude is finding the most positive people in your workplace and find a reason to interact – eventually you may become one of them.
Consider Starting a Business
Nearly a quarter of all of the businesses started in 2013 were begun by entrepreneurs ages 55 to 64, according to the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity. Starting a business is not just a necessity because people want to continue working. Many Boomers know that they have skills and experience they have gained from working for someone else. They find their niche based on the previous jobs, hobbies and interests they have developed over a lifetime. In addition to the financial benefits, business owners often find personal satisfaction with this option.
You are more than the title on your business card or office door. Think about the strengths you have developed throughout your career and what elements of your job you most enjoy. The books, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham or StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath are classics to help you think through what skills you may want to leverage into a new career. With a positive attitude and new-found confidence about your strengths, it is time to network with others and find new applications for your skills.
As we continue to live longer, an early retiree could spend more than thirty years in retirement. It is forcing Boomers to use creative ways to stay employed. In the Merrill Lynch study, “Work in Retirement: Myths and Motivation”, one direct quote from a participant was a theme many agreed with, “Not working: that was for my parents’ generation. I can’t imagine doing nothing for 30 years. Nor could I afford to.”