Retirement used to mean leaving work forever at age 65. Today, that description no longer applies to many of the millions of Americans who are at or near the traditional retirement age. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 2016, workers age 65 and older are expected to account for 6.1 percent of the total labor force, up sharply from 3.6 percent in 2006.
Many of these workers don’t want to be idle and are interested in beginning a second career, while others continue to work well into their golden years due to economic necessity. No matter the reasons, the New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants (NJSCPA) offers these suggestions for anyone redefining retirement:
Keep a Positive Attitude
Layoffs, declining real estate values, retirement savings losses and dwindling pensions have forced many people to delay retirement much longer than they originally expected. Perhaps a disappointment, but it’s possible to enjoy this situation more if you look at the bright side. Despite a troubled economy, there should be many opportunities to work, since the generation that is now retiring is much larger than the one replacing them.
In addition, many people relish the chance to remain active, learn additional skills and try new experiences. If you focus on the upside during your job search and when launching a new career, you’ll have more fun with it and probably be a more appealing candidate in job interviews.
Know Your Advantages
After decades in the workforce, you have a lot to offer an employer. First, older workers are by definition more mature than those starting their first jobs, so they are likely to be more dependable and have more experience.
Second, while young workers might job hop in order to add more experience to their resume, older employees generally are more likely to stay in one place. Both of those attributes are very attractive to employers, so be sure to emphasize your maturity, life and professional experience, and reliability in any job interview.
Do Some Research
If you are looking for a second career, or simply a job to boost your income because of shrinking retirement savings, focus on industries with the best outlooks and opportunities. The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Career Guide to Industries discusses training needed for specific jobs, the earnings and working conditions you can expect and what your job prospects might be.
You can find the guide and other employment information at the bureau’s site at www.bls.gov. After you have determined where the opportunities exist, consider any training you’ll need, how much it will cost and how long it will take. This should give you a good sense of the most appealing and realistic prospects.
Stick with Your Current Job
If you believe that you will need more money than expected in retirement, it’s a good idea to stay in the position you have now, rather than retiring and finding a new one. Those who work longer typically qualify for higher Social Security benefits, as well as have the chance to accumulate more retirement savings. A few extra years on the job could increase your retirement income significantly.
Turn to Your CPA
Your local CPA has the expertise to answer your questions on preparing for retirement and managing your money at any stage of life. Contact him or her for advice on any pressing financial issues. If you don’t have a CPA, you can easily locate one online using the NJSCPA’s free, online Find-A-CPA service. Just go to www.findacpa.org, and in a few clicks you can locate a highly qualified professional who can assist you.
For more information on various personal financial matters, visit the NJSCPA’s public service website at www.MoneyMattersNJ.com. While visiting, you can subscribe to Your Money Matters, the NJSCPA’s free, monthly email newsletter to receive valuable personal financial planning advice throughout the year.
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