Archive for the ‘Retirement’ Category

Will you be a “working retiree”? by Barbara Babkirk – January 10, 2018

Wednesday, January 10th, 2018

A recent study from Merrill Lynch determined that nearly three out of five retirees will launch a new work chapter after they retire from primary careers.

The term “working retiree” may seem like an oxymoron, but it’s a new reality that is here to stay. It’s projected to have a significant impact on the marketplace due to low population growth and high talent needs.

If you’re wondering why this shift in retirement mindset is coming about after just one generation, think about the characteristics of this baby boomer demographic:

  • best educated in history
  • commitment to lifelong learning
  • healthy lifestyles and
  • desire to make a difference (think sit-ins and demonstrations of the 70’s)

But, not all boomers who want to work after retirement share the same reasons or priorities around work. Ken Dychtwald, gerontologist, author and expert on aging issues, has identified four “core profiles” of today’s working retirees:

  1. Driven Achievers (15%) who have consistent derived their identity from work and continue to be driven to achieve
  2. Caring Contributors (33%) who are motivated to give back and make a difference in the latter part of their lives
  3. Life Balancers (25%) who see work at this time of their lives as fitting into larger priorities and want work to be fairly stress-free and fun
  4. Earnest Earners (28%) who need to work to meet financial obligations, whether or not they want to continue working. Since a significant number of boomers have not adequately saved for retirement, this group is predicted to grow.

If you’re among the significant number of retirees who leave work and after 6 to 18 months, miss the structure, camaraderie, or sense of purpose, then you may be joining the emerging group of working retirees.

Identifying your “core profile” from Dychtwald’s list as well as knowing what is motivating you in this next life phase, is essential to forging a successful path.

Held hostage by your retirement benefits? Five steps to break free. by Barbara Babkirk – July 27, 2015

Monday, July 27th, 2015

Golden handcuffsRetirement benefits are a welcomed amenity offered by many employers. It is a win/win situation if you enjoy your work and can imagine yourself comfortably remaining with the organization until you are adequately vested.

However, if your job is not working out and the pension or retirement plan becomes the only reason keeping you in your job, then you’ve lost some control of your work life.

You might think that your options are black or white: either you remain with the job and put up with your dissatisfaction for the time it takes to receive the benefit, or you forfeit the benefit and find work that is a better fit. Because neither option seems satisfactory, you could end up feeling stuck and frustrated. You might begin to experience a loss of interest in your job, notice a decline in your performance or even feel depressed.

If you find yourself in this situation, here are five steps that could change this course:

  1. Get the facts and numbers straight. Meet with human resources to clarify “what, when and how much” regarding your particular benefit package. Explore the option of an early retirement incentive package or a partial phased retirement program.
  2. Recognize that you have options beyond the two most obvious. Perhaps there is another position within your organization or another way to define your job that would better suit you and your needs. Before investigating this idea, take some time to identify specifically what is wrong with your current job as well as what you want at this time in your life. Perhaps the question: “Under what conditions would this job be acceptable?” might provide insight into a new direction or a conversation you might have with the person to whom you report.
  3. Shift your attention from work toward other important aspects of your life. See what happens when you develop a new or existing interest, attend to lapsed friendships, commit to community service, or take time for yourself and your well being through a class or organized activity. Being too focused on where you are stuck will not bring about the change you desire. Perhaps by giving yourself a break from this dilemma and diverting your attention to nurturing activities, you will open up to new ideas and options.
  4. Update and refine your résumé. Even if you don’t apply for another job, the process of identifying and summarizing what you’ve been doing can have a positive impact on how you regard your work and your capabilities and can lift your mood and spirit.
  5. Explore the marketplace. This does not require a decision to quit your existing job. An effective way to regain a sense of control is to realize that you could land another job that might be worth the change. With this knowledge, you’ll be back in the driver’s seat of your work life and thinking about your options rather than feeling that you have none.




What’s your post retirement plan? by Barbara Babkirk – August 20, 2014

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

I overheard a conversation at a restaurant recently that went like this:

“Jenny is retiring from her teaching career next year, but she doesn’t have a clue about what she’ll do next, because she doesn’t want to stop working altogether.” Does this sound like you or someone you know? Chances are the answer is “yes”.

Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, comprise 30% of the population in Maine—a significant slice of the workforce.

Research shows that the majority of boomers expect, for a variety of reasons, to work at least until they are 72—but not necessarily in their primary career and definitely not in the same way.

Boomers who retire from careers of many years may return to the workforce, but want to have more control over their time at work, less responsibility, flexible hours, opportunities to learn on the job and to make a difference.

From my perspective as a career counselor who works primarily with this demographic, I’m noticing the following:

  • Just entering their 50’s, the younger boomers have not begun their exodus from primary careers, but they are starting to think about what’s next.
  • Middle boomers seem to be floundering as they prepare to enter retirement and leave positions, organizations and careers that have been a significant part of their identity. They are floundering, in part because they are pioneers reinventing this life stage and because they are not clear about options since employers have not yet figured out a way to incorporate them back into the work place.
  • The older boomers seem the most ready to end working altogether and focus on family, travel and leisure time pursuits, while still interested in being of value in their communities.

Here are a few great resources to help you explore your options in retirement:

The Third Chapter by Sara Lawrence Lightfoot, The Big Shift: Navigating the New Stage Beyond Midlife by Marc Freedman, and Claiming Your Place at the Fire: Living the Second Half of Your Life on Purpose by Richard Leider.

Heart At Work Associates offers career counseling and outplacement services for your life stage in Portland, Maine and globally.

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