Many people cannot wait to retire. While they still find some enjoyment in work, they are tired of the daily grind and see retirement as their only salvation. As noted in an article from US News & World Report, "6 Reasons You Shouldn't Retire Early," that's bad for them and for society. These individuals still have productive years left and many skills to offer society and their workplaces. Furthermore, retirement can leave them still feeling dissatisfied with their life although for a different reason than while they were working.
The solution is for older adults to rethink what they want the "retirement years" to look like for them. As discussed in a previous post, if the goal is to stop working, it is important to plan for what will replace it. Work provides benefits such as financial compensation, time management, a sense of utility (or purpose), status, and socialization.
For those who want to continue to work, there are more opportunities than ever before. For example, some employers may be willing to adapt the work to an employee's wishes, such as by agreeing to part-time or project work, telecommuting, or becoming a consultant. Employees should not expect employers to raise the issue because of fears of age discrimination claims. The key is for the employee to make a strong case for how they can continue to add value to the business.
Others are starting new careers or becoming entrepreneurs. An inspiring story on MarketWatch.com focused on the fact that Michelangelo embarked on a new career as an architect at the age of 70 devoting the last 17 years of his life to St. Peter's Basilica. Although he wasn't an architect, he understood engineering and design and surrounded himself with those who could implement his vision.
While it may seem like successful entrepreneurs are all in their 20s, the truth is most are older. A research study by Wharton management professor Daniel Kim entitled, "Age and High-Growth Entrepreneurship," found that the average age of successful founders in the United States was in their 40s, even in the technology sector. Age provides an advantage as an entrepreneur for various reasons including prior experience with different companies or in an industry; social ties; relationships with suppliers, potential hires and co-founders; and financial wealth. Last year, a study by Paychex found that 3 in every 10 entrepreneurs are over the age of 50.
If you think you might like or will have to continue to work past the age of 70, consider what your ideal job would look like. Find your passion and enjoy life working in retirement.