Working in Retirement in an ‘Encore Career’

November 27, 2018

Experts labeled the birth of more than 76 million babies between 1946 and 1964 the “baby boom.”[i] It was America’s largest generation, although Millennials are on the verge of overtaking boomers.[ii] More than 65 million are still living today with about 10,000 retiring per day.[iii] The youngest will turn 67, full retirement age, in 2031, when the boomer population is projected to drop to 58.2 million.

What will they be doing?

Most of them will continue working.[iv] In fact, nearly four-fifths of retirees will stay on the job or seek other employment to supplement their retirement income.

More than 60% of people in the United States who have retired said they retired too soon.[v]

How do boomers compare to workers in other generations?[vi]

  • Boomers are hardworking, ambitious workaholics and occasionally tend to complain about younger workers’ seeming unwillingness to pay their dues.
  • Boomers are independent, confident, and self-reliant. As the original anti-establishmentarians, they believe they can change the world.
  • Boomers are usually dedicated, focused on achievement, and goal setting.
  • Boomers are highly competitive and correlate work with self-worth.
  • Boomers self-actualize. Boomers were raised in relative middle-class affluence, eschewing traditional values for the sake of self-expression.

The boomer’s view of retirement

Unlike members of previous generations, baby boomers have animated the word “encore.” Coined by author Marc Freedman, the term “encore career” describes a person’s second life career in later years.[vii]

Encore careers tend to focus primarily in health care, the environment, government, education, and nonprofits. Encore careers provide retirees with financial advantages, such as higher Social Security credits by delaying receiving benefits. Monthly benefits rise when eligible retirees delay applying for benefits after reaching their full retirement age.

Beyond the monetary advantages, boomers find encore careers provide an outlet to express the passion they’ve gained throughout their professional lives. Connected to a community, working retirees gain a sense of engagement and purpose in their later years.

Boomers also gravitate to a variety of mostly help-related professions, such as teaching, consulting or working for nonprofits. Others pursue work in creative fields, such as music, painting, or drama.

Looking for work?

If you’re interested in pursuing an encore career, here are some tips to help you get started:

  • Start by writing down your goals and interests and think about how you could turn them into satisfying work.
  • Take classes at your local college or lifelong learning center to develop new skills.
  • Think about how much you’d like to work and what kind of environment would interest you.
  • Consider taking a personality assessment and work competency test to learn about your strengths.
  • Look around for job opportunities and let friends, family, and others in your network know that you’re looking.