Whatever their careers, most Boomers have spent a major portion of their lives working to provide for their families. If they've been successful at earning a good living and wisely managing their money, Boomers have a stellar opportunity -- a second chance if you will -- to play in a "second act." Generally, a second act refers to reinventing or rewiring retirement and doing something you are passionate about -- hopefully unconstrained by the need to earn a high income.
Everyone's definition of a second act is different. For some, it may involve a new, more flexible relationship with an existing employer to phase out of a full-time job into part-time work. For others, it could be transitioning into an entirely new career that generates more modest income. Still others define a second act as a combination of working part-time, volunteering part-time and playing part-time.
How you define your second act is very much up to you -- but a big challenge many Boomers face is how to get there. Mary Kane, Associate Editor of Kiplinger's Retirement Report, writes about the process in her excellent article, "6 Steps to Finding Your Second Act in Retirement." She advises, "You’ll need to do both soul-searching and research first to understand which of your skills are transferable and how they can be useful. You’ll want to prepare well in advance to shore up your finances, paying off any debts and becoming accustomed to a different standard of living—perhaps living with less income on a trial run for a few months. You may need to mix volunteering with paid work, or find part-time work that will provide health coverage, to ease your transition and the stress on your wallet. And you’ll need to create a new professional network in your community, well beyond the circle of former colleagues and contacts you spent decades establishing in your previous career."
There's no question this transition can sound a bit intimidating, so Kane identifies six key steps on the path to a second act:
- Begin Early
- Fix Your Finances
- Build a Bridge
- Do a Midternship
- Tackle the Internal Work
- Take It Slow
Kane describes each of these steps in her article and includes examples and input from retirement experts. It is offers very helpful guidance for starting a successful second act.