In today’s economy, every employee is vulnerable. Baby boomers are often the most concerned, believing their opportunities to find meaningful work are more limited. If they are open-minded and creative, however, there are many existing possibilities.
Work remains important to this population, even after they become retirement-eligible. Studies show that 80% of boomers intend to work after their official retirement, mostly because they enjoy work, not solely due to financial need. When people have the financial flexibility, they have greater opportunity to reinvent themselves. With 94% of boomers wanting more discretionary time and 66% wanting a career change, this is a welcome opportunity, and the reinvention is called re-careering or an encore career.
The Portfolio Career
A creative way for boomers to find satisfying work is through a combination of roles, defined as a portfolio career -- a series of roles and/or jobs that lead to multiple streams of income. Boomers are often credible as subject matter experts -- specialists with a specific body of knowledge. This group can build a portfolio of roles that leverages these areas of expertise.
Advantages of a portfolio career can include lowering your income for tax purposes and balancing competing priorities. You can construct the specific portfolio that best fits your needs.
Some issues you can consider in balancing your personal portfolio include:
- Up Cycle vs. Down Cycle - Addressing all economic market conditions.
- Heart & Mind vs. Wallet – Balancing passion or intellectually stimulating roles with income-producing choices.
- Recurring Work vs. One-Time Projects – Recurring work creates greater stability. One-time projects are often more financially rewarding and interesting.
- Office vs. Home-Based – Office-based work helps you replace workplace collegiality. Home-based work often comes with greater time flexibility.
- Seasonal Roles – You can serve the same customer base with multiple services, each with its own seasonal demand.
- Some general questions you should consider:
- Do I want to leverage my experience as a consultant? An educator? A volunteer?
- How can I best market myself?
- Do I have what it takes – personally and financially -- to pursue a dream: starting a business, working for a cause, continuing my education?
As you determine your personal priorities, you will be shifting to a Life/Work vs. Work/Life balance. Include in your considerations:
- What can I do that would best help my family now?
- What do I need to do to maintain my health and vitality?
- What will keep me intellectually engaged and connected to the world?
- What will create meaningful personal and professional identities for me?