Doing “Good Work” in the Second Half of Life

Mar 16

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Doing “Good Work” in the Second Half of Life

It is never too late to do work which can make a significant impact in someone else’s life. If you are on the verge of retirement and considering new opportunities, jobs in a nonprofit organization could be the perfect fit.

It is no secret that Baby Boomers are reinventing retirement and many plan to continue working past the point when earlier generations moved to the sidelines. However, after raising their families and building their careers, many boomers want the work they pursue in the second half of their life to differ from the first half. According to “The New Face of Work” survey by the MetLife Foundation/Civic Ventures, 53 percent of all adults ages 50 to 70 say they may work in retirement. Surprisingly, the study also revealed that half of all Americans ages 50 to 70 are interested in taking jobs – now and in retirement – that would improve the quality of life in their communities.

What jobs interested respondents? According to the study, 78 percent were interested in helping the poor, the elderly and others in need; 56 percent were interested in dealing with health issues; 55 percent were interested in teaching or other educational positions; and 45 percent were interested in working in a youth program. Another survey finding was that respondents sought second-half careers that would provide income, help them improve the community, keep them involved with other people and give them a sense of purpose.

Like this growing group of Americans, you may want to do “good work” in the second half of your life but are not sure what you want to do or what positions are available. If you want to invest your time, talent, and experience in work that benefits the community and adds meaning to your life, consider these ideas:

Define your dreams and create a roadmap for retirement – As you envision your retirement, ask yourself: What am I passionate about? How do I want to spend my time? Who do I want to spend time with? How do I want to make a lasting mark? What do I want to pass on to others? If conducted prior to retirement, such a self-assessment can help you prepare emotionally and financially for the future.

Assess your skills and experience and consider how to use them in a new way – After years of identifying yourself with a certain job or a specific profession, it can be challenging to see yourself and your background in a different light. Are you good at organizing, supervising people, or talking on the phone? Consider how you can leverage your capabilities and interests to benefit others. For example, you could put your business skills to work by helping operate a nonprofit’s cleaning service or consignment store. On the other hand, you may want to change your career path entirely and need retraining. Investigate what the training involves, how long it will take, and how much it will cost.

Test drive your dream before you quit your day job – Before making a major commitment or life change, consider pursuing your passion on a smaller scale. Explore your desired role or organization through a volunteer position, internship, part-time job, or temporary post. If available, you may want to take advantage of a sabbatical from your current job to try out your options before resigning.

Be flexible – No matter how passionate you are about your dreams, some goals like becoming a renowned artist, publishing a book, or working as a professional athlete may not be realistic for you. However, that doesn’t mean you cannot realize your dream another way. Perhaps you could teach painting classes at a local arts center, write for a community newspaper, or coach the youth athletic league. If there are no paying positions available in your preferred area, consider volunteer roles or internships while continuing to network and search for desired job openings.

Put yourself in a financially viable position so you can live out your dreams at any age.

Think about time and money in new ways – Expect to face trade-offs as you pursue “good work” and jobs that serve society. Perhaps you will consider working for a lower salary in exchange for health benefits, meaningful work, shorter hours, or a more flexible schedule. If you are already retired, your Social Security may help you balance a decline in income. Instead of working full time, you may want to negotiate a part-time schedule, seasonal work or project, or contract arrangements. Another option is cycling between periods of leisure and work so you can balance earning an income with extended trips and time spent with friends and family.

Find the right nonprofit match – Since there are about 1.8 million nonprofit organizations in the U.S., you have a lot of choices. How do you find the right fit for you and your dreams? Start by identifying the issues you care about and the organizations which address them; then, assess how your credentials and capabilities fit with their missions. Explore websites to find out more about the organizations and stay abreast of job openings, events, and volunteer opportunities. Some community colleges and local universities also offer informative courses on nonprofit organizations.

Put a price tag on your retirement lifestyle – Everyone has dreams but not everyone realizes them. Envisioning your ideal retirement is a great first step but you also need to consider other action steps too. For example, consider how you will pay for your lifestyle, live your dreams, and pass on what is important to you to the next generation. Retirement fulfillment involves many factors: early financial planning, having a clear vision of retirement goals, continued activity and engagement throughout retirement, financial preparedness, and leveraging professional advice. Additionally, the study revealed that people who sought help from financial advisors were generally more positive in their outlook for retirement and better prepared financially than those without professional advice.

The ability to do “good work” in the second half of your life involves much more than acknowledging your passions and dreams – it takes planning and creativity to prepare emotionally and financially for a meaningful future. A financial advisor can help you envision your retirement lifestyle and create a financial plan to help you fund it. The Atlanta-based Wealth Management Firm of Benedetti, Gucer & Associates can be a valuable asset in this regard. Their fee-based, fiduciary advisors have decades of experience preparing and implementing financial plans for their clients. The sooner you begin defining and planning for your dreams, the greater your chances of realizing them.



The views expressed represent the opinions of Benedetti, Gucer & Associates and are subject to change. These views are not intended as a forecast, a guarantee of future results, investment recommendation, or an offer to buy or sell any securities. The information provided is of a general nature and should not be construed as investment advice or to provide any investment, tax, financial or legal advice or service to any person.

Additional information, including management fees and expenses, is provided on Benedetti, Gucer & Associates’ Form ADV Part 2, which is available upon request.

The use of the term “RIA” does not imply a certain level of skill.


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