Thursday, April 12, 2007

Part Time Work in Retirement

I've briefly touched on working in retirement before (see here), but during the 100th Post Contest Sheryl Swan suggested the topic of part time paid work in retirement which is a poplar topic today. So I thought I should put together a bit longer of a post.

Perhaps first I should point out there is nothing wrong with working in retirement. Some how people get confused by the word retirement and assume that means an end to working on anything, which is no longer the case. People now are using retirement to reinvent their lives and try new things. Sometimes in involves paid work and some is just volunteer work, the only difference between the two is you get a pay cheque for one of them.

I personally seen a case where someone retired and was begged to come back part time for a while at their old job and it didn't turn out. What happened? The person in question fell back into most of their old job. It started as three days a week and then turned into four days a week. Before long the person in question felt like they hadn't even retired at all.

So how do you keep this happening in your own retirement? Well I'm going to suggest a few general guidelines about part time work in retirement.

1) Try to keep your work to 24 hours a week or less. This is only to prevent you from working too much without you realizing it. If you don't mind working more feel free to ignore this guideline.

2) Paid part time work should only be used to fund your early retirement. After 60 or 65 you should be able to stop entirely without any changes to your financial retirement plan. You have to accept that your health will fail as you get older, so don't plan on working forever.

3) Try to keep the money required from your paid work down to $5000 or less a year per person for your early retirement plan. Paid work should provide only a small amount of income to make your life more comfortable, ideally you should be able to live just fine without it at all. Things change over time and the idea of working might lose its luster as you get older and you should be able to stop if you want.

4) Consider a small business idea carefully. Starting a small business often requires a lot of up front work to get it established. Also try to pick something where you can choose your work hours and turn down work you don't want. Overall I like the small business model for retirement work since being your own boss you can be very flexible.

I hope that provides a few ideas for anyone considering work in retirement. If anyone else has some other ideas please leave and comment and share it.

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