It is a young man’s (or woman’s) world. We’ve all heard that. But is it true?
It could be. But let’s decide just what we mean by young.
If that’s what young means, I agree. It’s a young person’s world.
I’ve met a lot of white-haired people who were like that. They were past 65 and not nearly ready to start slowing down. And why would they start slowing down? They were taking care of their health and had a ton of experience and energy to share. Most had cut ties with the employers they’d worked for most of their careers, but they were still out in the workforce often running circles around people who chronologically were much younger than they were.
Maybe you’re young in the same way they were. If so, you’re full of ambition and you’ve got energy to burn.
Here are four ways a young senior over 65 may choose to remain active in the workforce.
1. Extend your career
Many employers recognize that seniors have plenty of good years ahead. Companies that not long ago were ready to put every 65-year-old employee out to pasture often give their senior workers nowadays the option of working past 65. Some companies providing this option engage in a little give-and-take with such employees, reducing their pay and benefits but trying to come up with a package agreeable to both parties. Some companies, however, are eager to retain their most experienced, most knowledgeable hands, and allow employees past age 65 to retain their full responsibilities, pay, and benefits.
Whether your employer has a mandatory retirement age or not, chances are it’s open to a little negotiation with an employee who’s proven his or her value to the company over many years. Perhaps you’re not interested in beating traffic daily and working full-time. Maybe you’re only interested in consulting or helping out on a project from time to time. Regardless of the work commitments you want after age 65, there’s a chance you can work out just that situation with your employer—or at least find a compromise situation that’s agreeable to both of you.
2. Go to work for a competitor
If your employer or former employer is stuck in the Stone Age and refuses to acknowledge what you could continue to offer after age 65, why not go to work for another company in your field? Is there another company that’s always interested you, and that previous work commitments always prevented you from getting involved with? You shouldn’t be asked to give away any of your former employer’s trade secrets or try to raid its client base, of course, but if your previous employer doesn’t remain loyal to you beyond a certain age, why should you limit your opportunities by remaining loyal to an employer that has shown you the door?
There may be opportunities available with companies that aren’t competitors but have a working relationship with your employer. And there may be many helpful contacts you’ve made over the years in your field who might be aware of opportunities for you. Ethical questions may apply. For example, is it right to take advantage of a contact your previous company made it possible for you to make? Sometimes there’s no easy answer to such a question, but if you’re above board in all regards you’re not likely to raise much objection from others.
3. Start a business
Have you ever wanted to start a small business? Well, why not do it now if you’re so inclined? After all, you’ve got a ton of experience and a lot of know-how in your corner. Maybe there’s a hobby you’ve excelled at and used to dream about making a living from. If you’ve got a sufficient retirement income, maybe this is the time to dive into that hobby, forget about whether it can pay the bills you’ve already got covered anyway, and live the life you’ve dreamed about.
A small business can be as structured or as casual as you want it to be. You can set your own hours and your own rates—and be your own boss. You can set up an office at home or downtown. You probably shouldn’t set your sights too high or pour too much money in until you’ve tested the waters—but there’s no good reason that a business you start shouldn’t be as successful as a business started by someone thirty years your junior. In fact, you probably know a great deal more than that person does.
4. Do a jobs for seniors search
Pick up any publications for seniors in your area and check out the job ads. There are often jobs available at shopping centers, call centers, and other business for people of all ages including seniors, and the fact that an ad appears in a seniors publication is an obvious signal that a potential employer is recruiting seniors. You can further your job search by googling jobs for seniors in your area. Regardless of where you live in the United States, websites like RetirementJobs.com make it easy to search for positions in a wide variety of fields.
Many job opportunities marketed directly to seniors, unfortunately, are at the lower end of the pay scale, although positions requiring specialized training or education are often listed at $20 or more per hour. If you’re simply looking for something to get you out of the house, there are probably low-paying opportunities in your community to get you out and active while helping pay the bills.
Beware of work at home opportunities you see advertised. Some of those “opportunities” you see advertised in seniors publications and on employment websites and sites like craigslist are legitimate, but many are not. Carefully check out any work at home listing that seems interesting, and search for comments or complaints from people who’ve already responded to the listing. Be hesitant about any potential employer unable to give you a physical address that you’re able to check out. And never, never, never, never give out your personal information—including your Social Security number—to a company whose legitimacy and physical address you’re less than 100% able to confirm.