Getting Paid Doing What You Love for as Long as Life Ensues
At fifty-four, I am expected to live an active life for another 20 or 30 years. What if, I am lucky to be alive and well till ninety-five? If I continue my current lifestyle and expenses, my savings will likely run out if I stop working by sixty. Even if I decide to work until sixty-five, I will need to cover my expenses for twenty five years or more. How much money is enough? Let’s look at some numbers.
Retirement Fund or No Fund
Financial advisers suggest retirees to generate 75 to 80 percent of pre-retirement income to maintain the current lifestyle after they disengage from their paying jobs. In Canada, citizens are entitled to collect Canada Pension, Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement if they are eligible, starting at age 65. Depending on the Province, the maximum benefit can possibly reach $2,258 based on 2012 calculations. (Note: Canadians can start collecting Canada Pension at a reduced rate as early as sixty).
So for individuals who formerly earned $50,000 annually, relying on the Canadian social system actually meets less than half of their pre-retirement income. On the other hand, Canada has quite a good system, at least for the baby boomers’ generation. Given that our basic health care is covered, many people can live modestly with a monthly income of $2,258. Can you?
However, the amount of money needed to support our “retirement” life-style, travels, leisure activities, health-care expenses, gifts to our grandchildren and other expenditures varies based on personal preference and needs. In reality, we need financial support for as long as we live. No doubt, if we want to maintain our pre-retirement living standard, we need to put more money aside for the long haul. Or perhaps we can continue to generate income.
Keeping the Money Flowing
For those of us who welcome the idea of lifelong service, we can continue doing what we love and get paid for as long as we are capable. Here are some ideas:
1) Keep working in the current job/profession in full capacity
Some people love their job and they may choose to continue working at full speed after the traditional retirement age. Good for them. My cousin Mel works in California, U.S.A. He enjoys his job as a procurement specialist. He just celebrated his 70th birthday and still dutifully reports to work every day. I met him last year and asked him when he planned to retire. He smiled and said, “Maybe in five years.”
2) Keep working in the current job/profession in reduced capacity
Some companies offer part-time or reduced work week for employees. This may be a win-win for those who only want to work part-time so that they have more freedom and flexibility to pursue other activities.
3) Transition to a different role/profession/business
If you have a “dream” job (a new business or a new role) in mind but it is different from what you have been doing, how do you transition to live your dream and still get paid? Or, you are involuntary let go of a job and you are looking for other opportunities. Either way, you need to ask yourself some tough questions.
What skill(s), service or product you can offer to prospective employers, clients, or customers?
What make people want to pay for your work, service, or product?
Marketing your skills, your service or products takes effort, knowledge and persistence. But there is plenty of help available. I recommend face-to-face networking, local meet-up groups and using online social media sites such as LinkedIn and join their appropriate groups. Engage with people and get to know them. We can help each other launch our dreams.
My Transition Story
Since I chose to say goodbye to my 30-year old career to pursue my dream role, there lies a huge income gap, at least for the first few years. By reflecting on my skills, services and products, I do a few types of work to earn a portion of what a Project Management consultant role would bring in for me:
1) I teach continuing education part-time at a local college and take on short-term teaching assignments, e.g. Project Management short courses.
2) I facilitate personal development workshops, e.g. Stress Management.
3) I speak at events and conferences (some paid; some unpaid).
4) I have my counselling private practice.
5) I sell my book Reimagine Your Retirement.
6) I write future books or how-to articles, to teach something.
I also study Chinese Medicine as enrichment. This knowledge will help me promote body-mind-spirit wellness when I write or speak. This is also my investment for future potential transition to be a licensed acupuncturist. This may not happen but in case I live to one hundred!
So, there we go. These are my new income streams. Seems like a long list. But I enjoy every bit of those types of work. I will probably continue to teach, speak and counsel until my body gives in. Your list may be very short and different. That’s perfectly fine. Do what’s meaningful to you.
I talked about living your dream in my other posts. Living life to the full requires you to reflect, reimagine and reinvent yourself over and over again. This will take work and it will take time. But it’s all worth it. The good news is: you can do it. If you don’t start your transition now, you’ll be a year older when you do it.
Visit these links for additional help and inspiration:
What other questions do you have regarding redefining your retirement?
Do you have other tips to share?