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The Second Time Around

The first President Bush once joked that the best thing about being president was that he didn’t have to eat broccoli anymore.  Late night comedians promptly had fodder for a variety of jokes about “negative goals.”  You know, the goal for your kid is that he or she grows up and becomes a non-politician.  The goal of athletes is to NOT win, and all that.

Negative goals also exist for retirees, like NOT living at the poverty level.  One retiree I know had a goal of NOT working.  He didn’t have any positive goals that I ever knew, like finishing his college degree or hiking the Appalachian trial or taking a cruise or anything else.  His only goal was simply to NOT work.

Maybe, if a person worked in a coal mine, inhaling coal dust, digging the carbon out of a hole a mile deep, then his perception of work would be understandably different from someone who worked in an office all his life.  I do understand that but suspect that is an extreme example.

A new survey by Merrill Lynch found that 42% of existing retirees either have worked or are planning to work during retirement.  Among workers, otherwise known as pre-retirees, fully 72% expect to work during retirement.

Of course, I understand the baby-boomer generation got blindsided by the death of corporate pensions and were slow to grasp the benefits of defined contribution plans, like 401(k)’s.  Still, according to the survey, “retirees are four times as likely to say they are continuing to work because they want to rather than because they must.”

Eighty-three percent of the “working” retirees only work part-time.  Sixty percent of them went into entirely new fields.   Incredibly,  one-third of working retirees now own their their own business.

The world of retirement has changed.  No longer does an employee get a gold watch before going off to die somewhere else.  Longevity has changed all that.  Retirement now offers an opportunity for a second career, a second opportunity for growth and a cure for the retirement boredom or emptiness that financial planners see so often.