How to Plan for a Meaningful Encore in Retirement

Record numbers of older workers are planning to work past the typical retirement age, and even when they do retire from full-time work, many say they’d like to continue working for pay to some degree. Some realize they’ll need the money. Others find their work enjoyable or are eager to pursue more meaningful work through an “encore” career.

However, the percentage of people who actually continue with their careers later in life, or work for pay after retirement, is far smaller than you might expect. For some, health issues interrupt later-life career plans. Others retire without a plan for how to continue using their gifts, talents, and passions to make a difference with their lives.

As important as it is to have a financial plan for your later years, it’s equally important to have an “impact” plan.

Longer-life risks and opportunities

A key risk financial advisors talk about is “longevity risk.” There’s a certain irony to that term. After all, most people would prefer to live a long time. What makes it a risk is the possibility that your money won’t last as long as you will.

It’s wise to respond to that risk by creating a financial plan, calculating your later-life expenses, reviewing your estimated Social Security benefits, estimating what your retirement accounts will be worth and how much you may be able to draw from them. You can find many resources that will help you put together such a plan and prepare financially for a long life. What you won’t find as easily is guidance on what you’ll do with your life at that point.

If you arrive at retirement without a plan for continuing to make a difference, you may end up disappointed.

“For 75 years as a culture, we’ve been experimenting with retirement. Some people have found it rewarding. Many, if not most, find it not so rewarding,” says Lloyd Reeb, primary spokesperson for The Halftime Institute, a non-profit Christian organization that helps people discover and live out their God-given calling, especially in later life. “They don’t like having lost their voice or their platform.

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