In an article appearing at Kiplinger.com, writer Jacob Wolinsky, noted that many seasoned citizens are redefining purpose away from endless vacations and time with grandchildren to embrace passion and purpose later in life.
It may be due to economic necessity or, as I strongly suspect, a desire among men and women over 50 to ensure their lives are more meaningful. Whatever the reason, Jacob explained the labor force participation rate for men between the ages of 65 and 69 rose from 28% in 1995 to 39% in 2019, while 30% of older women continued to work, up from 17% during the same time.
Jacob defines a “second act” as being a major career change after initially retiring from a jobs. With many people opting to retire at 62 to do something else, they often feel there are still plenty of ways for them to make a contribution to society.
After the Social Security Administration raising the minimum retirement age to 67 for people, like me, who were born in 1960 and later, it’s easy to see why people may desire a second act.
Perhaps they have made enough money in their careers and now want to shed responsibility to simply enjoy work. Maybe they have always desired to use their skills, talent and experience in other areas, but it wasn’t practical for them to pursue it until now.
“Today’s average retiree can expect to live at least 18 more years after retirement — potentially requiring many more years’ worth of income than they were expecting,” Jacob wrote.
Yet, there are also people, like me, who, for a variety of reasons, don’t have nearly enough savings to enable them to completely step away from work. For those people, if they’ve got to work out of necessity, then they might as well enjoy what they’re doing and the people they work with every day.
I think we all get to a point in our lives where we are tired of the drama that comes with office politics, and with corporations seeking to cut expenses to the bone just to increase the rate of return to investors.
Jacob noted that many people find fulfillment in teaching, and I think mentoring falls in that category, too. Others consider retail positions associated with their hobbies and natural talents so they can help others fall in love with those things as well.
For example, Billy Ozzello, who served as the base player for the band Survivor in the 1980s, now runs a guitar shop in Indiana, the article explained.
I also agree with Jacob that now is the ideal time or people over 50 to return to school to get two- or four-year degrees. Many time, attending college as an older adult is significantly easier than it is when people are in the teens or early 20s. That’s because they bring a wealth of experience and accumulated knowledge to enhance classroom instruction.
“In the case of income, it’s a good idea to figure out how much you can claim in Social Security benefits and then determine how much more you’ll need to live comfortably or, at the very least, to get by,” Jacob wrote. “From there, you can circle back to finding your passion and purpose and using your skills as you look for a post-retirement position that fits as many needs and desires as possible.”
I just completed that exercise myself. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that, although I wouldn’t be traveling the world by taking Social Security benefits early, I wouldn’t starve either.
By trimming some fat from my expenses and exercising greater control over unnecessary spending, I could have more time to pursue things that brought me joy and gave my life a sense of purpose. I could use my natural talent, learned skills and unique life experiences to help other people chase their dreams and pursue things they’ve always wanted to do.
It’s sad that so many people see retirement as the final act of a long career when, in reality, the closing curtain simply signals an intermission before the climactic second act begins.
Jacob’s full story can be found at Kiplinger.com.
After closing his business and enduring several painful years of uncertainty regarding what to do with his life, Greg founded Forward From 50 to help men and women over 50 to live more purposeful lives by pursuing things they are passionate about. A Wisconsin native, Greg currently lives in Arizona.