I don’t know about you, but at 66 I do not feel ready to stop working totally as implied in the definition of Retirement.  Yes, I love the idea of freedom to do the things I love, being able to exercise when I feel like it as well as hopefully some more socializing in the near future, but I am not ready to let go of the feeling of purpose that my work gives me.  I also live in hope that one day I will have built a steady income stream that I can divert automatically into a travel and holiday fund!

A study done by Merrill Lynch back in 2004 found that Boomers tend to want neither a life of full-time leisure NOR a life of full-time work and only 17% of those surveyed never want to work for pay again. (Read the survey results Here) I don’t get the feeling those figures will have altered much in the intervening years, if anything with the recent economic downturn more people will be needing to work for money.

Last Week I listened to a semi-retirement coach called Nancy Collamer.  She talks and writes about Second Act careers – that is the career we start once we finish our first career, also referred to as an Encore career.   She outlined 4 ways in which we tend to approach Second Act careers:

  1. We continue to work in our professional career, but working less hours, maybe consulting.  This could lead to a phased retirement, also called Downshifting
  2. Starting an Encore Career which is for the greater good, maybe working for a non-profit, assisting in education or starting a business where some of the profit is donated to a non-profit or doing pro-bono work .
  3. Looking to earn from doing something that you love, it could be the extension of a hobby. For example, if you love photography and you can take it one step further by mounting and framing some of your best photos to sell.   Or, your cakes are much in demand among your friends, so you ramp up and bake Special Event cakes for sale, such as milestone birthday cakes (70th, 80th, Golden anniversary)
  4. Doing anything, simply to bring in some extra income, such as becoming an Uber driver, or taking on shifts in a local retail store.

When I was mulling over this last week I kept getting a vision of the London Underground.  Most of us know the map, and are aware of the Yellow ‘Circle’ line where you can get onto the Tube and circle all day without coming up.  I kept wondering, how many of us are metaphorically stuck on the Circle line going round and round doing what is comfortable and familiar, simply because we do not know how to find a line that will take us up to the beauty of the countryside.

If you want to reach the beauty of the countryside, that is, to build a life of purpose and meaning in your retirement, you are going to have to find your way onto one of the branch lines.  Sometimes it is difficult to do, because the “Circle line” is so familiar, but that is where a Coach can guide your thinking so you can see the options.

Best wishes and feel free to contact me if you are ‘stuck’ on the Circle Line,