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Encore Career: What do I want to do when I grow up? Thumbnail

Encore Career: What do I want to do when I grow up?

I’ve met with clients who worked at the Baseball Hall of Fame, a funeral parlor, and a golf course.   One client owned an antique shop; another was a ski instructor at a resort.  One couple lived and worked in National Parks.  While the roles of these folks varied greatly, there was one thing they all had in common.  None of these individuals were working in their primary careers.  For each of them, this was an encore career.  This article will discuss what an encore career is and how it may fit into your retirement plan.

As many know, the retirement landscape has shifted dramatically in recent years.  One generation ago, folks would work at one company, retire with a pension and spend their retirement days fishing, golfing, or doing some other activity featured prominently in an AARP magazine advertisement.  

In my experience working with retirees for the last 15 years, I have noticed a trend that things have changed.  Many folks reach a point in their career when they are ready to “retire.”  But really, that means they are prepared to leave that job they have been working non-stop, going 100 miles an hour.  They are ready to leave the grind of Sunday nights staring at the ceiling, worrying about what the next morning will bring.  But they still want to do something.  They are just not sure what.  Helping clients find something that provides them purpose and enjoyment without the stress of a normal job are some of the most fun and fulfilling conversations I have with clients.  We call this an “encore career.”

At its best, an encore career will provide purpose to an individual after they make that transition from working.  It will engage them, challenge them, provide them with a social network, and provide some income.  For many, the income is the least important part.  As human beings, we want to feel productive and useful.  An encore career gives us that feeling without the stress of pedal to the metal.

Of course, before we have this conversation, we must first ensure that you and your family are financially able to do that.  This is where retirement projections and financial planning are essential.  These projections will tell us if and when you may be able to begin searching for that encore career.  Once we have that answer, then the fun can begin.

I love sitting down with clients and having deeper conversations about what drives them, what their passions are, and what would make them still feel productive but without the stress of a 9-5 (or 8-6, or 7-7, or non-stop which is what most careers are now).  In these conversations, we will focus on how you want to spend your time, who you want to spend it with, and where you would like to spend it.  From these conversations, I have found some of the really interesting encore careers listed above.  There is no one right answer.  It is simply answering the question of …” what do I want to do when I grow up?”

If you are interested in running retirement projections, discussing comprehensive financial planning, or looking for someone to facilitate a conversation around an encore career, please do not hesitate to reach out.


Author: James (JT) Cox, CFP®, ChFC®, BFA™️

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